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LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 



RECORD OF A CAMPAIGN ON BEHALF 
OF PEACE IN ENGLAND AND 

SCOTLAND IN 1900. 7 



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S/^" C.''' CRONWRIGHT- SCHREINER 

{MXIOBS or TBI UaULATtTR /MMMULY, CAR OOtOMY). 



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LONDON: 

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ILLUSTRATIONS. 

S. C. Cronwright Schreiner (taken in London in 1900) ... Fr&niisfUct. 

To/ac$pag$ 

John A. Hobson (author of "The War in South Africa'*) ... i 

S. C. Cronwright Schreiner (talcen at Johannesburg in 1898) ... S 

Olive Schreiner (taken at Kimberley in 1896) ... ... ... 9 

Right Hon. Leonard Courtney (President of the South African 

Conciliation Committee) ... ... ... ... 15 

Councillor Jabec Chaplin (Chairman at Meeting in Leicester) ... 2$ 

Imperialist Liberal Ticket (Leicester) ... ... ... ... 38 

2Ars> w. A ■ 0jr*es ... ... ... ... ... ... ^f 

Mrs. Ruth Normington ... ... ... ... ... 55 

Bailie John Ferguson ... ... ... ... ... 66 

D. Lloyd-George^ M.P. ... ... ... ... ... 7' 

Thomas Hardie ... ... ... ... ... •.• 9^ 

Walter Crane's Cartoon ... ... ... ... ... loz 

Theodore Napier ... ... ... ... •.• ... 105 

Rev. Walter Walsh ... ... ... ... ... ... 120 

Dr. R. Spence Watson... ... ... ... ... ... 140 

Gateshead Meeting Ticket ... ... ... ... ... 14^ 

Mrs. R. Spence Watson ... ... ... ... ... 156 

J. W. Rowntree ... •.. ... ... ... ... tyy 

Mr. and Mrs. Wm. Rowntree ... ... ... ..• .*• 192 

Joshua Rowntree ... ... ... .•* ••• ■•• 2og 

L^eds Posters... ... ... ... ... ... ... S14 

John M. Robertson (author of "Wrecking the Empire") ... 350 

F. Lawson Dodd, M.R.C.S. ... ... ... ... ... 353 

Henxy J. Wilson, M.P. ... ... ... ... ... 259 

C. Parsons (Hon. Sec. of the Battersea Committee) ... ... 280 

W. Matthews, J.P. (Chairman of the Battersea Committee) ... 385 

Mrs. L. T. Hobhouse ... ... ... ... ... ... S95 

C. P. Scotty M.P. (editor and proprietor of the Manchaitr Guar* 

AMtti) ... ... ... ... ... ... *•. 30s 

Mrs. Smith ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 3'^ 

Ticket, Edinburgh Meeting ... ... ... ... ... 3x3 

J. ,ri. omitn ... ... ... ... ... ... ... 3^^ 

. fitey. Alex. Webster ... ... ... ... ... ... 327 

*V^ Keir Hardie, M.P. ... ... ... ... ... ... 376 

^ Tengo Jabavu (editor, /mvtf, Cape Colony) ... ... ... 409 



PAOB 

ix 

... xii 
... zlii 



INDEX TO CHAPTERS. 

X A6XSC9 *.. ... ... ..a ••* ••* 

"You Ask Me Why ....»' 

Introduction 

Chapter I. 

How and Why I went to England ... ... ... ... i 

Cbaptei II. 

First Days in England... ... ... ... ... ... 6 

CBAFTSa III. 

Conference of Liberals, i4tli Feb. ... ... ... ... ii 

Canning Town, i8th Feb. ... ... ... ... ... 15 

Hastings, iQtli Feb. ... ... ... ... ... ... 18 

Chaptsk IV. 

Leicester, aoth Feb. ... ... ... ... ... ... 22 

Chaptes V. 

Oxford, 2ist and aand Feb. ... ... ... ... ... 40 

Cambridge, 2yih Feb. ... ... ... ... ... ... 43 

Chaptes VI. 

Bradford, 38th Feb. ... ... ... ... ... ... 47 

Padsey, 2nd March ... ... ... ... ... ... 50 

Chapter VII. 

Glasgow, 6th March ... ... ... ... ... ... 63 

Chapteb VIII. 

Edinburgh, 7th March... ... ... ... ... ... 77 

Part I. — My own experiences in the hands of the mob ... 78 

Part 2. — ^What occurred inside the Hall ... ... ... 96 

Part 3. — Outside the Hall ; the police ; the local authorities ... 108 



vi THE LANt> OF FREE SPEECH. 



Cbaptek IX. 
Dundee, 8th March 

Parti. — ^Arrangements for the metUng 

Part 3.— Within the GilfiUan Hall J: 

Part 3. — The mob ; the attack on Mr, Walsh's House 

Part 4. — Interview with the Dundee Advertiser 



lao 

I30 

124 
130 

^33 



Chapter X. 

Gate8head-on-T3me, 9th March... ... ... ... ... 140 

Part I. — ^Arrangements for the meeting ; the meeting abandoned 140 

Part 2. — ^The mob; attack on Bensham Grove ... ... 14S 

Chaptek XI. 

Sheffield, loth March ... ... ... ••• 159 

Chaptek XII. 

York, nth March ... ... ... ... ... ... 170 

Chapter XIII. 

Scarborough, 12th March ... ... ... ... ... 176 

Part I. — ^The attacked caf^... ... ... ... ... 178 

Part 2. — ^The riot in the streets ... ... ... ... x88 

Part 3. — ^How Mr. Hobson and myself left Scarborough ... 196 

Part 4. — The organisation of the riot; the local authorities; 

the Rowntrees ... ... ... ... ... 201 

Chapter XIV. 

Leeds, 14th March ... ... ... ... ... ... 211 

Chapter XV. 

Liverpool and Birkenhead, 15th March ... ... ... ... 217 

Part I. — ^The Aborigines Protection Society of Liverpool ... 218 

Part 3. — ^Judge Grantham; Mr. Joseph Clayton ... ... 223 

Chapter XVI. 

Croydon^ Z9th March ... ... ... ... ... ... 230 

Chapter XVII. 

Lord Hobhouse's (i5j Bruton Street) 2ist March... ... ... 234 

Breakfast at Westminster Palace Hotel, 3rd April ... ... 237 

Banquet at Caf6 Monico, 4th April ... ... ... ... 238 



INDEX TO CHAPTERS. 



vu 



rAOB 

Meeting of S.A.C.C. delegates, 5th April ... ... ... 243 

Meetings at 30, Russell Square, 2, Park Place Gardens, 40, Pont 

oiA cciy eic ••• «*■ ... (.1 ••• ..• '^^ 

CBArTBX XVIII. 

The Native question ... ... ... ... ... ... 247 

Part I. — Native Races Protection Society Committee^ 15, 

Dean's Yard, Westminster, 3rd April ... ... ... 247 

Part 2.-- South Place Ethical Society, 15th April ... ... 248 



CRArrxx XIX. 
Tunbridge Wells, 20th April; 5th and 6th June 



CBArrxx XX. 



Penistone, 2i8t April ... 



Chaptxx XXI. 
Battersea, 6th May 

Part I.— The Battersea Stop the War Committee 
Part 2. — The meeting 



Chaptxx XXII. 



Manchester, 7th May ... 



«53 



259 



... 280 
... 280 
... 287 



^94 



Chaptxx XXIII. 

Stroud Green and elsewhere, 16th April to 17th May ... 
19, Linden Gardens, 3rd May 
Sanderstead, 5th May ... 
3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, zoth May ... 
Homsey Women's Liberal Association, nth May ... 
Women's Liberal Conference, i6th May ... 
Other incidents ... ... ... •.• 

Chaptxx XXIV. 

Edinburgh, i8th May ... ... ... ... ... 

Parti. — ^Inside the Albion Hall 
Part 2. — ^The mob in the streets 

Chaptxx XXV. 

Aberdeen, 20th May ... ... ... ... ... 

Parti. — ^Before the meeting 
Pacta.'-The meeting 



... 


193 


. . * 


303 


... 


303 


.. . 


304 


. . . 


304 


... 


397 


.. . 


307 


. . . 


3x0 


. . • 


310 


... 


3»7 


« • * 


326 


... 


3a6 


. .. 


331 



viii THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

PAQK 

Part 3. — ^The 30,000 mob ... ... ... ... ... 346 

Part 4. — Mr. Webster's house ; Dr. Beveridge ; Professor Hein ; 

the Socialists ... ... ... ... ... 36a 

Craptek XXVI. 
Old Cumnock and Ayr, 3xst-34th May ... ... ... ... 375 

Chaptbk XXVII. 
The Women's Demonstration, 13th June, and other matters ... 383 

Chapter XXVIII. 

Voyage to South Africa ... ... ... ... ... 388 

Parti. — ^Imperialism on the high seas ... ... ... 388 

Part 2. — ^Reception in Cape Town ... ... ... ... 39a 

CSAPTEE XXIX. 

The Worcester Congress, 6th December ... ... ... 399 

Appendix. 
Chorus of "Soldiers of the Queen" ... 



PREFACE. 



This book gives an account of a tour made in 
England and Scotland in 1900 in my endeavour to 
address the British public on the Boer War. Though 
mention is made of what happened at several places 
where I was to have spoken^ but which I was pre- 
vented from visiting, the account is confined practi- 
cally to incidents associated with places where I spoke 
or endeavoured to speak ; it does not deal with towns 
where no hall could be obtained, or where the state 
of feeling rendered it impossible to speak in a private 
or semi-private building. The account, further, is 
confined, with few brief exceptions, to matters wholly 
public An interesting account might be given of the 
people I met, of their views, and of many private 
incidents directly connected with the war, but I have 
thou^t it better not to travel further afield. There 
is, however, one incident I should like to mention. 
At the he^ht of the mad feeling, when the mobbing 



X PREFACE, 

to which I was being subjected was at its worst, Dr. 
Joseph Parker wrote offering me the use of his pulpit 
for a short address, after his sermon, on the ethical 
aspect of the war, on a certain day when the dele- 
gates from the different congregations throughout 
England, which make up the religious body of which 
he was (for, alas, he is now dead!) so eminent a 
member were assembled in London. It unfortunately 
happened that my engagements prevented my accep- 
tance of this unique and brave offer; but it should 
be recorded to his honour. 

It remains but to add that, though I placed the 
manuscript 'in the hands of my literary agent in 
London in 1901, he was unable to secure its publi- 
cation ; feeling still ran too strong. In its original 

form there were a considerable number of appendices 
which, in my opinion, threw light on the origin of 
the war. These are now omitted as being to a con- 
siderable extent unnecessary; the course of events 
has speedily justified my analysis of the causes of 
the war, and my forecast of its economic result It 
cannot be long before every unbiassed and informed 
person sees plainly that it was a capitalists' war into 
which Great Britain was dragged by unscrupulous 
cosmopolitan financiers, and that when she waged war 



PREFACE. xi 

in South Africa, she entered upon a campaign whose 
sole result could be to hand South Africa over to the 
Plutocrat and strike what may prove a death-blow 
to the Empire. 

•9* V/« W« td* 

Capi Town, 
Aprilj 1904. 



You ask me why, tho' ill at ease, 
Within this region I subsist, 
Whose spirits falter in the midst, 

And languish for the purple seas. 

It is the land that freemen till, 
That sober-suited Freedom chose. 
The land, where, girt with friends or foes, 

A man may speak the thing he will : 

A land of settled government, 
A land of just and old renown, 
Where Freedom slowly broadens down 

From precedent to precedent : 

Where faction seldom gathers head, 
But by degrees to fulness wrought, 
The strength of some diffusive thought 

Hath time and space to work and spread 

Should banded imions persecute 

Opinion, and induce a time 

When single thought is civil crime. 
And individual freedom mute ; 

Tho' power should make from land to land 
The name of Britain trebly great — 
Tho' every channel of the State 

Should fill and choke with golden sand — 

Yet waft me from the harbour mouth. 

Wild wind I I seek a warmer sky. 

And I will see before I die 
The palms and temples of the South. 

—Tennyson. 



xn 



INTRODUCTION. 

Mention of my relation with the public life of the 
Cape Colony, and other details contained in this In- 
troduction, would be wholly unnecessary and without 
interest to the English reader, were it not for the 
perpetual misrepresentation with regard to these small 
matters on the part of the ImperiaUst Press in Eng- 
land and Scotland during my peace campaign there. 
I am a South African of unmixed British blood. 

My mother's parents were Lucy Finaughty and 
Robert Featherstone. Miss Finaughty, a woman 
partly of Irish descent, was a child of one of the early 
British Settlers who were located in Lower Albany 
(between Grahamstown and the sea). She came out 
as a young girl with her parents in 1820 and married 
Robert Featherstone, son of an English farmer near 
Bristol, who had been a soldier in the British Army. 
Robert Featherstone, who served under Moore at 
Corunna, and was wounded at Badajos, was stationed 
with the troops at Grahamstowa After his marriage 
he retired from the army and went farming. His old 
farm near Grahamstown is still called " Featherstone's 
Kloof." My mother was bom in Grahamstown in 
1835, and has never been out of the Cape Colony. 

My father's parents were the Rev. John Wright and 

••• 



xiv INTRODUCTION. 

Margery Croa They were married in England 
Miss Cron was a woman partly of Scotch descent, her 
family being from Dumfries. They were quite young 
people when, shortly after their marriage, Mr. Wright 
was sent out in 1822 by the London Missionary 
Society to work among tlie natives of South Africa ; 
and his wife accompanied him. After two years at 
Theopolis, near Grahamstown, he was sent to Griqua- 
town to work among the Griquas and Bechuanas. 
From there, in 1842, he was sent to Philippolis in the 
Orange Free State. My father was bom in Cape 
Town in 1834, on the occasion of his parents coming 
down from the interior with the Griqua Chief, Water- 
boer, who was brought down by Mr. Wright to see 
the Imperial authorities on some matter. (This was 
the same Waterboer whom England afterwards used 
as a stalking-horse for the annexation of the Kimber- 
ley diamond mines from the Orange Free State.) 

It is somewhat remarkable that my grandfather and 
my wife's father were for a time on the same Mission 
Statioa 

None of my grandparents, after setting foot in 
South Africa, ever visited England again; all their 
children have been bom in South Africa. Three of 
the old people rest in Grahamstown ; the other, the 
Missionary, in Philippolis, in the Orange Free State, 
where happily the roar of the cannon cannot awake 
him who through life laboured that men might love 
one another. 

It was interesting to hear my grandmothers speak 



INTRODUCTION. xv 

of their early adventures. Mrs. Featherstone tised to 
tell of hippopotami and elephants between Grahams- 
town and the sea, and how she and her husband 
were once surrounded by lions near Fort Brown, to- 
gether with many other stories of breathless interest 
to us young South Africans. Many were the tales of 
the Kaffir wars. One of the earliest I remember hear- 
ing from my mother was how she and her brothers 
and sisters slept in their house at Fort England (the 
military camp at Grahamstown) with their clothes 
tied up in bundles, ready at a moment to flee (as 
arranged) to the Cathedral for safety, in case the 
Kaffirs made a night attack ; while her mother, a small 
and mettlesome woman, paced up and down the gar- 
den and round the house throughout the night with a 
drawn sword in her hand ; Mrs. Wright had strange 
tales of the Bushmen and the far unknown interior. 

My father, when thirteen years old, was sent to 
England to school He returned to South Africa at 
the age of seventeen and never left it again. On his 
return to the Cape he went into business and !ater 
into farming. While a farmer he married my mother. 
I am their eldest son, and was bom in January, 1863, 
on the farm Gideon's Hoek, in the district of Bedford, 
Cape Colony. 

When I was about three years old, my parents re- 
moved to Grahamstown, where my father again went 
into business. He was Mayor of the dty four years 
running, and twice represented it in Parliament 
From 1866 to 1884 I Uved in Grahamstown, and 



xri INTRODUCTION. 

was educated at St Andrew's College, the most Eng- 
lish College in the most English city in South Africa. 

Grahamstown is the capital of the Eastern Pro- 
vince, the seat of the Eastern Districts Court, the 
residence of the Bishop of the Eastern Province, and 
is the most Ei^lish educational centre in South 
Africa, It is so purely English a city that its inhabi- 
tants, with few exceptions, know nothing about the 
Dutch : a remark which applies with equal truth to 
Port Elizabeth, East London, and many other centres 
of population, and even to the great bulk of the people 
of Cape Towa In all these English centres, strong 
anti-Dutch prejudices, as ignorant as they are unjust, 
are unhappily a kind of cult which is fomented by the 
English Press, especially now that it is largely con- 
trolled by the Speculator-Capitalist interest, and 
almost without exception Jingo. This Press never 
wearies of misrepresenting the Dutch. 

Like almost all English people reared in towns in 
the Colony, especially in the large and purely English 
towns, I imbibed from my earliest childhood these 
strong and unreasoning anti-Dutch prejudices which 
so disgrace our English South African manhood and 
do such incalculable injustice and harm to a brave and 
much-enduring race exceptionally endowed with men- 
tal and physical excellences. This anti-Dutch cult 
in which I grew up is that in which the so-called 
"Loyalists" (when South African bom, as many of 
them are not) have been largely reared; it is this 
which is infecting new-comers, who are thrown al- 



INTRODUCTION. xvii 

most exclusively into contact with the urban popu- 
lation, and this, especially at a time of intense feeling 
like the present, warps tiieir views and makes them 
almost invariably untrustworthy witnesses of South 
African matters, both as regards matters of fact and 
matters of opinioa This unreasoning anti-Dutch 
bias could not long persist but for the unfortunate 
fact that the urban population is almost wholly non- 
Dutch and the rural population almost wholly Dutch. 
Thus, when town and country interests are in oppo- 
sition, the question at once becomes a racial one. 
The races are kept apart, and the unfortunate division 
is intensified by the fact that the urban population 
speaks one language and the rural another. These 
differences form a most effective means for unscru- 
pulous politicians and financiers, who can always fan 
the race flame for party and personal ends. It is 
remarkable that these agitators are ahnost without 
exception non-Dutch, and generally of non-South 
African birth. A striking instance of this unhappy 
bias is found in the English South African clergy, 
most of whom are not South African bom and know 
practically nothing about the Dutch at first hand, and 
literally nothing at all about the botrs (the Dutch 
farmer who does not speak English, or speaks it but 
imperfectly) who constitute the majority of white 
British subjects in South Africa. 

While reared in the strongest anti-Dutch preju- 
dices, I was on the other hand, with equal unreason, 
taught to regard the British people, from whom I 



xviii INTRODUCTION. 

came, and the island home of my race» as something 
exceptionally beautiful and glorious. My parents 
had heard from their parents, in v^jue yet glowing 
language, of the far homeland and the English people. 
Only the beautiful had been dwelt on, and distance 
and hallowed tradition had vested the unseen land and 
people with a halo of glory, especially to a lad like 
myself. I do not think people in England realise the 
peculiar veneration of the native-bom for the cradle 
of his race (South African though he may be, as I am, 
to the backbone) and the consequent agony it is to 
such of us as keep our heads in a time of excitement 
to see the Mother-country acting in a manner which 
we were taught proudly to regard as un-English^ be- 
cause cowardly and dishonourable. 

Thus was I, when, at the age of twenty-one,* I 
went straight from College to farm in the Karoo. I 
found I had inevitably in time to abandon my preju- 
dices, pro-English and anti-Dutch, and reform my 
opinions on knowledge obtained at first hand. It is 
perhaps worth while mentioning that I was reared also 
in the strongest anti-native prejudices. My liberal 
attitude towards both Dutch and Native is due wholly, 
in the first instance, to my perception of the injustice 
meted out to them by ourselves as the dominant race. 

♦ " Wright " being a very common name in South Africa, 
our own clan being large, and there being several other 
unrelated families of the same name, my father had been 
accustomed to sign his name " Cron-Wright," and our family 
ha4 come to be known as the « Cron- Wrights." When I 



INTRODUCTION. xix 

When, in 1884, I kft College and went farming 
in a part of the country ahnost wholly Dutch, I could 
not speak a word of the Taal (the conversational 
Dutch dialect of South Africa). I fanned for ten 
years among the Dutch farmers, first at Weltevreden, 
near Pearston, in the district of Somerset East for 
nearly a year, and then for the rest of the time at 
Krantz Plaats, on the Great Fish River in the District 
of Cradock. During that period I acquired their 
language and a knowledge of their character. To 
know a people intimately (and no one can do this 
without speaking their language) is to break down 
many an ignorant and unreasoning prejudice. The 
Dutch proved to be a very different people from what 
they had been represented; and I came to admire 
their many splendid qualities, their simplicity of life, 
their dislike of caste, their kindness of heart, their y^ 
warm hospitality, their iron determination and dogggia 
persistence.! 

came of age, my father took the necessary legal steps to 
make our name ** Cronwright," by which name since then 
our family has been uniformly known. 

f A good deal of misapprehension exists as to what our 
boers are. They are simply our Dutch fanners. Boer means 
fanner. It is the only word the Dutch use for farmer. They 
call an English farmer a boer, distinguishing him as an 
" Engelesche boer " ; the farmer of South African birth they 
caU an ^Afrikaansche boer/' Our boers are not peasants. 
They are really the landowners of the country, many of them 
being very wealthy. Their operations partake more of the 
nature of ranching than of what is usually meant by " farm> 
ing.** Their '* farms'* run to thousands, often to tens of 
thousands, of acres, and their stock in great herds. 



XX INTRODUCTION. 

While at Krantz Plaats, I and several young farmers 
started the Cradock Farmers Association, of which I 
was Secretary, and which soon became the most in- 
fluential Farmers' Association in the Colony. At that 
time the Afrikander Bond$ was all powerful It was 
supporting Mr. Rhodes, and nearly all our leading 
poUticians were cringing to it In a House of 
seventy-six members, it returned just about one-third. 
This third, by standing firmly together, dominated the 
House, the remaining two-thirds being split into two 
parties, each angling for the support of the Bond 
party to give it a majority and enable it to take office. 
The country was in a very bad way, more by reason 
of the lack of moral stamina of the leading non-Bond 
politicians than by reason of the conservative strength 
of the Bond. Mr. Rhodes, with his Chartered and 
De Beers influence, had a strong and servile personal 
following. Solidly backed by this following, he was 
forcing through the House the most pernicious capi- 
talistic legislation, mainly oppressive to the Natives — 
a policy which is always sure of a strong backing in 
the House if a man will so demean himself as to 
utilise it ; for the Natives have very few real friends! 

Seeing how unhealthy this was for our public 
morality, and how unjust to the Natives, the remedy 

X See an article on the Afrikander Bond, contributed by 
me to the Speaker of February zoth, 1900. 

S For a full analysis of the political situation at the time, 
iee *' The Political Situation/ by Olive Schreiner and myself 
(T^ T^isher Unwin). 



INTRODUCTION. xxi 

lay, I thought, in the oi^^sation into a party of the 
more progressive elements of the community, Dutch, 
EngUsh, and Native. I determined to try to organise 
such a party. I could get no prominent politician 
and no leading paper to take up the attitude of oppo- 
sition to the Bond ; those who did not s^ee with it 
were cringing to it because it was strong — the same 
unmanly spirit which makes many of them so valiant 
in attacking it to-day and so noisy in their protesta- 
tions of " loyalty," because they have three hundred 
thousand British soldiers behind them. 

The Farmers' Associations of the Colony were con- 
fined to the Eastern Province and the Midlands, and 
were at that time almost wholly English, and not 
strong either numerically or by their influence. My 
idea was to make these Farmers' Associations the 
nucleus of the new party, which I styled the " Pro- 
gressive Party." Every year these Associations were 
represented by delegates at a Congress, which was 
known as the '^ Central Association." Using the 
Cradock Farmers' Association as a lever, I proi)osed 
to work out my idea through the Central Association 
I strictly eschewed the racial factor, hoping that more 
branches would be formed in town and country, that 
the more advanced Dutch would come in increasing 
numbers to our side, and that the less advanced Bri- 
tish (the majority) would go over to the Bond, and 
that thus we should get two organised political bodies 
on non-racial lines, each checking and balancing the 
other. 



xxii INTRODUCTION. 

The pushing of my idea necessarily brought me 
into hot conflict with the Afrikander Bond, until I 
think I may say I became its best known and best 
attacked opponent; which was not surprising, as I 
made my attack with much vehemence, confining 
myself, perhaps, too exclusively to only one side of 
the questioa I was vehemently attacked by the 
Cafe Times and Cape Argus, among other papers, 
for daring to oppose the Bond. I was, they said, 
stirring up race feeling by opposing the Bond Since, 
in January, 1896, the Bond threw out Mr. Rhodes, 
these Capitalistic papers have been first and foremost 
in attacking, in the most impudent and unscrupulous 
manner, the Bond and all connected with it. 

At this stage I was offered a seat in Parliament for 
Tembuland, largely a Native constituency. My 
return was a practical certainty, but I declined to 
stand. It was then offered to Mr. J, Charles Molteno, 
who was duly elected. 

In February, 1894, I married Olive Schreiner, and 
adopted her surname.* 

* Much ij^norance exists as to her family. Even Sir Robert 
Reid, in his speech in the Commons during the Free Speech 
Debate, said I was mairied to a *' German lady." The gene- 
ral opinion in England seems to be that she is a ''Boer." 
Her father was a German missionary. He was sent out to 
South Africa when quite a young man by the London Mis- 
sionary Society to labour among the Natives. Before com- 
ing out, Mr. Schreiner married, in London, Rebecca Lyndali, 
an English lady bom and reared in London. Her father, 
a Presbyterian Minister, lies buried in Bunhill Fields, in 
the City. Mr. and Mrs. Schreiner arrived in South Africa 



INTRODUCTION. xxiii 

In July, 1894 I retired from fanning and went to 
live at Kimberley, where I continued to work on the 
organisation of what I hoped would be the Progres- 
sive Party. In August, 1895, at the request of a 
Literary Society there, I delivered an address, pre- 
pared by Olive Schreiner and myself, on " The Poli- 
tical Situation,"t in furtherance of the same idea I 
pointed out how Mr. Rhodes, by misleading the 
Bond, was utilising that organisation to obtain capi- 

in the thirties^ and at once went into the interior to labour 
among the Natives. Mr. Schreiner, who never again left 
South Africa and who was a fervent admirer of the En^ish, 
died some twenty-six years ago. All their children were 
born in South Africa, and, like myself, imbibed as children 
the subtle anti-Dutch prejudices which are common in South 
Africa. Olive Schreiner was bom at Witteberg, on the 
border of Basutoland. In her youth she spent five years 
teaching among the Dutch families on farms, and during 
these years obtained her unrivalled knowledge of these people. 
Sharing their home life, she obtained an intimate knowledge 
of them such as I and other members of her family can lay 
no daims to. In 1880 she went to England for the first time, 
never having left South Africa before. She then took with 
her " The Story of an African Farm " (much of which was 
written at Ganna Hoek, the farm adjoining Krantz Plaats, 
where she came to live with me after our marriage). She 
spent the next ten years (with the exception of trips to the 
Continent, mainly to Italy, for her health) in England, chiefly 
in London. She has never lived in Germany. Thus she, 
like myself, is a South African. She is half English by 
descent, wholly English by residence, education, and tradi- 
tion, and anti-Dutch until her personal experience of them 
induced her to form a more correct estimate of this virile and 
intellectual people. A more competent authority on the 
race question of South Africa does not live. 

t « The Political Situation » (T. Fisher Unwin, i, Adelphi 
Terrace, W.C.). 



xxiv INTRODUCTION. 

talistic legislation and to secure a monopoly in mine- 
rals which would enable him to dominate the whole 
of South Africa I then said he would betray the 
Bond ; urged the more progressive people, Dutch and 
English, in South Africa, to combine and organise ; 
and suggested a plan in detail which it seemed de- 
sirable to pursue. 

The scheme was making headway slowly, and 
might perhaps have eventuated in the formation of a 
small but strong party, when the Raid occurred and 
spoilt everything. From that time forward it has 
been impossible to do anything further towards the 
formation df such a party. The so-called Progressive 
Party to-day, so far from representing such an ad- 
vanced Liberal party as I had in my mind, is on the 
whole the most retrogressive organisation that has 
ever existed in South Africa Financed largely by 
Mr. Rhodes and held together by no cement but that 
of race hatred, it in its turn has become the tool of 
the capitalists, and is being led to do disastrous work 
both for South Africa and for the Empire. 

It was at this time, while engaged in making such 
attack as I was capable of on the capitalist party, that 
the De Beers Company, of which Mr. Rhodes is the 
head, made me, as they have made almost every man 
who has opposed them with any success, an offer of 
a post which would have been to me one of enormous 
advantage. I, of course, immediately refused it, for 
no man who takes a post under Dc Beers retains his 
political independence. 



INTRODUCTION. xxv 

The capitalist plot laid bare by the Raid created an 
entirely new situation throughout South Africa. For 
men holding such views as myself, questions of local 
party politics sank at once into the background. We 
English South Africans were brought face to face 
with a great crime ; and the all-important point was to 
repudiate as Englishmen a treacherous and un-Eng- 
Ush act, and to seek to secure simple justice towards 
an outraged people. 

Hoping that my reputation as one of the most un- 
compromising anti-Bondsmen in the Colony might 
be of assistance if I, as an English South African, at 
once pubUcly expressed a condemnation of the plot, 
and thinking that I might help others to see the truth 
in a time of intense excitement, when so few realised 
the inner meaning of what had happened, and when 
even many of Mr. Rhodes's opponents scouted the 
idea that he and the capitalists were involved in the 
plot, I, on the 14th of January, a fortnight after the 
Raid, addressed the following letter to the Dutch and 
English Press of the Cape Colony : — 

"BRITISH AND DUTCH. 

" Sir, — ^We hear it frequently said that the recent 
occurrences in the Transvaal must tend permanently 
to the division of the Dutch and English of South 
Africa. 

" It appears to me that what has occurred may even 
draw the two white races into closer unioa 

"If the Progressive Englishmen throughout the 



xxvi INTRODUCTION. 

Colony will rise above all feelings of small race pre- 
judice and look at this matter from the standpoint of 
justice-loving Englishmen, and will fearlessly state 
the conviction which is forced upon them, they will be 
compelled to recognise that President Kruger and his 
burghers,4n defeating Dr. Jameson, have been fighting 
not for themselves alone, but for all the inhabitants 
of South Africa. 

"Our Dutch brothers should be made clearly to 
understand that this dastardly plot against them 
throughout South Africa is not English, is not in 
accordance with the highest traditions of English- 
speaking peoples, nor in harmony with the sympathies 
of freedom-loving Englishmen ; it is due to a body of 
commercial speculators who are enemies to the 
highest interests of the Empire, as to those of South 
Africa. They should be made clearly to understand 
that the machinations of the Chartered Company are 
indignantly repudiated by every just Englishman; 
that Dr. Jameson's exploit is one that is abhorrent to 
us; and that no mere physical bravery can make 
desirable in our eyes a treacherous attack upon our 
fellow South Africans. 

•'President Kruger and his burghers have not 
merely saved South Africa from a decimating civil 
war, but, in preventing the tyranny of that band of 
capitalists whose rule would have been a colossal evil 
yet more to the Englishman than to the Dutchman of 
South Africa, they have bound themselves to us. 
" Speaking not merely for myself, but, as I have 



INTRODUCTION. xxvii 

reason to believe, for many thousands of Englishmen 
throughout South Africa, I may say that never be- 
fore have we felt so identified with the Dutch ; and, 
I believe, when the turmoil of the moment has passed, 
it will be universally allowed that President Kruger 
and his burghers have fought for the benefit of South 
Africa as a whole and for the highest and real in- 
terest of the British Empire. 

" When I think of this I am proud to hold myself 
neither an Englishman nor a Dutchman, but a South 
African. 

'' I cannot but feel it is more than possible that the 
occurrences of the last few weeks may tend to bind 
together the Dutch and English in South Africa as 
nothing has bound them before, for the danger which 
threatened us, and from which President Kruger has 
saved us, is a common one. 

" We have felt bitterly indignant in the past at Pre- 
sident Kruger's tardy recognition of the rights of a 
large body of citizens of the Transvaal, but his action 
in this matter becomes intelligible when we consider 
the fact that he may have had reason to suspect plots 
hatched against the freedom of the State by a minute 
but powerful body of speculators in concert with finan- 
cial plotters outside. President Kruger's manly and 
magnanimous conduct during the recent crisis leaves 
us no room to doubt that, having ' cut off the tortoise's 
head,' full citizen rights will be granted to all loyal in- 
habitants; and that, freed from the interference of 
commercial adventurers who have played for their own 



xxviii INTRODUCTION. 

purposes alike upon the weaknesses of both English 
and Dutch, the permanent union of the white races in 
South Africa will be rapidly and permanently con- 
summated" 

Thus I wrote a fortnight after the Raid 

But racial passion, fanned by the Capitalist Press, 
especially the Cape Times^ was too strong ; and this 
passion, coupled with an inabihty to see the inner 
meaning of what had transpired, caused the EngUsh 
section of the Colony to take a wrong directioa 
They made a hero of Dr. Jameson ; the men of the 
Eastern Frontier, who had been consistently opposed 
to Mr. Rhodes, went over to him en bloc ; the Anglo- 
African League,} an avowedly anti-Dutch organisa- 
tion, sprai^; into being, following on an attack near 
Kei Road by nine young frontier English farmers 
on a single man whom they dragged from the train 
and tarred in the presence of his Uttle children be- 
cause he had termed Dr. Jameson a scoundrel ; and 
the whole of South Africa became violently divided 
on race lines, not through any fault of the Dutch, 
but because the English sided with Dr. Jameson and 
Mr. Rhodes. The English lost the most unique 
opportunity to rise above a narrow race bias and, by 
a simple and obvious act of justice, to break down 



\ The Anglo-African League blossomed later into the now 
notorious South African League, but though the name has 
been modified the anti-Dutch bias is still the only bond of 
union that binds its members together. 



INTRODUCTION. xxix 

racial distinctions, to the lasting benefit of South 
Africa and the Empire. 

To anyone looking at the matter from my stand- 
point, it of necessity was but as dust in the balance 
upon which side political parties ranged themselves. 
The question was not, and is not, primarily one of 
Dutch and English ; it is one of English honour and 
dishonour; and if the Dutch were treacherously 
treated then, they have been even more so since. 

Thus it happens that I find the Dutch and myself 
united in our common condemnation of the war and of 
the Capitalist movement which led to it, because, hav- 
ing had their eyes opened by the Raid and the sub- 
sequent developments, they have adopted the atti- 
tude I have always held towards Capitalism. 

The Natives, led by that splendid Kaffir, Mr. J. 
Tengo Jabavu, seeing clearly that this war has been 
brought about by men whose primary object is to 
reduce their wages and practically enslave them, are 
upon the same side. The Bond and the Natives 
have thus adopted what I hold to be the only truly 
progressive policy, for the great question in South 
Africa now is whether we are to become a self-govern- 
ing people or whether we are to be handed over tied 
hand and foot to a gang of imscrupulous speculators. 
It is interesting to note that the Bond has adopted, 
on the politico-economic side, the very attitude which 
I had marked out for the progressive party I had 
been trying to organise. 

In 1896, when for the last time I attended the 



XXX INTRODUCTION. 

Eastern Province Farmers Congress, at Dordrecht, 1 
helped to prevent the passing of a vote of sympathy 
with Dr. Jameson Ii^ the cotnrse of my speech I 
called the attention of the members to Mr. Chamber- 
lain's attitude towards the Raid, as far as we knew 
it then. What he had done was, I argued, a guaran- 
tee that the matter might safely be left in his hands ; 
he was an English Cabinet Minister, and his honour 
might be trusted! It took a long time and much 
strong evidence to break down my deep-seated but 
ill-grounded belief in the honour of British statesmen, 
and a still longer time and evidence of the most 
incontrovertible kind to break down my deeper- 
seated, though equally ill-grounded, belief in the jus- 
tice of the British people. 

In 1897 I left the Colony for the first time, and 
made my first visit to England, and while there did 
all I could to induce leading men to see that they 
would have to guard against war in South Africa, as 
Mr. Rhodes would strive for war, without which his 
career was run 

Then came the awful crime of the British South 
Africa Inquiry, the hushing up of evidence, the sup- 
port given to the chief criminal by the Prince of 
Wales — a "trial" so infamous that it is scarcely 
matched by the Dre}^us Affair. It was a terrible 
blow to us who had trusted the rectitude of English 
public life ; to us it became clear that British honour 
was dead. For myself, I returned to South Africa 
thoroughly ashamed of British public life. But I 



INTRODUCTION. 

still believed in the British people; I was later to 
learn that official British public life had truly reflected 
the moral degradation of the people under the control 
of a Capitalist Press t 

In 1898, when I was Chairman of the Barkly West 
Committee to oppose Mr. Rhodes's return to Parlia- 
ment, the Bond, now in opposition to Mr. Rhodes and 
Capitalism, was endeavouring to secure the election 
of two men whom, up to the time of the Raid, it had 
opposed I was attacked by the Rhodes pampers, 
especially the Cape Times, for inconsistency in " sup- 
porting the Bond" I replied in a letter which the 
Cape Times published in its daily edition, but cut out 
of the weekly mail edition, in order that it might not 
go to England. 

In October, 1898, 1 went to live in Johannesburg. 
I resided there until just before the outbreak of hos- 
tilities. I was thus on the spot during the whole of 
the agitation, and saw the repulsive and dishonest 
financial plot in the making. 

As will be seen from my letter of January 14th, 
1896, I had bitterly resented the policy of exclusion 
pursued in the Transvaal In fact, when the agitation 
was legitimate, I had carried through the Cradock 
Farmers' Association a resolution expressing sym- 
pathy with it and asking the Republic to entertain 
its requests favourably. From that day to this I 
have never for one moment swerved in my opposition 
to that policy of exclusion ; but it was never a matter 
for war ; it was less a matter for war, or even for 



xxxii INTRODUCTION. 

outside interference, than was Lord Salisbury's policy 
of exclusion of the working man from the franchise 
in Great Britain. I attributed that policy, I hope un- 
justly, largely to Dr. Leyds (a gentleman whom I 
have never seen or had any communication with, either 
directly or indirectly,! in any way whatever). For this 
reason I have always looked upon Dr. Leyds as a 
pernicious influence. 

I did all I could, with many other people who love 
this country and its peoples and wished to avoid war, 
to induce political concessions ; not because I thought 
England had any right to demand them, for I re- 
pudiate that right as strenuously as Oom Paul him- 
self ; nor because I thought the Republic on the whole 
was badly governed, because I have never thought 
this ; but because I thought it was the best policy to 
checkmate the capitalists in the long run; because, 
not being a Tory, it consorts more with my ideas of 
government ; and because I did not want war, which, 
apart from its horrors, meant that we should be 
handed over bound to the capitalist-speculators, whose 
rule I knew would be corrupt and selfish and sub- 
versive of all true freedom, both for white and black. 

I was offered a post as an official in the Republic, 
which for many reasons I should have been glad to 
accept if I could have done so ; but I felt that the 
policy being pursued by the Transvaal was unsafe in 
view of the powerful agencies that were at work 

S I do not use this expression in a Chamberlain sense. 



INTRODUCTION. xxxiii 

through the financiers to produce war ; and being unr 
willing to give even an apparently tacit approval to 
such a policy, I was unable to accept the post 

After the Republic had passed the Seven Years 
Retrospective Franchise Act in July, 1899 (which I 
considered a sufficient reform), and after it had been 
rejected by Great Britain, it became clear to me thai 
Sir Alfred Milner, like his masters, Mr. Rhodes and 
Mr. Chamberlain, was not sincere. I wrote to Mr. 
F. W. Reitz, the State Secretary of the Transvaal, 
one of the very noblest characters in South Africa, 
and urged the immediate granting of a five years 
retrospective franchise with as few restrictions as 
possible. I pointed out it was now clear that what 
Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Chamberlain wanted, unless they 
could get everything without it, was war, and that it 
was sound policy not to give them what they wanted. 
Mr. Reitz replied that he agreed ; but where was the 
use, he said, in doing this ? As long as Mr. Chamber- 
lain insisted upon the " suzerainty '' it was clear he 
was not honest, and that any concessions would be 
useless tmless the Transvaalers were prepared to hand 
the country over ; if Mr. Chamberlain would abandon 
his untenable attitude on the suzerainty question, 
terms could be arranged. It was impossible to reply 
to Mr. Reitz ; he had stated the truth, as was proved 
by the fact that, when the Republic offered the five 
years franchise, it was unceremoniously rejected 

These trifling particulars will, I believe, sufficiently 
answer the statements, ridiculous to anyone acquain- 



xxxiv INTRODUCTION. 

ted with South African affairs, but solemnly repeated 
by the Imperialist Press in England and Scotland, 
with regard to my past relation to the South African 
Republics and to Great Britain. 

0« w« w* w* 



Cape Town. 

August, igoi. 






•JU««MMHtahadta«M- 



i'HIL NiJW Yjc.r. 

PUBLIC UBRART 



Amu, LXNOl 

IILDXN FOUNDATIOHR 



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■•MHMaMMMM 



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THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 



CHAPTER L 

HOW AND WHY I WENT TO ENGLAND. 

As there has been misrepresentation as to how 
and why I went to England, I think it best to state 
shortly the facts. 

My first acqtiaintance with Mr. John A. Hobson 
began some years ago, when I read his excellent 
*' Evolution of Modem Capitalism." Some time 
later, when he was connected with the brilliant but 
short-lived Progressive Review, he saw an article of 
mine condemning the Raid, and wrote, asking me to 
contribute to the Review. I met him in London in 
February, 1897. In 1899 he came out to South 
Africa on behalf of the Manchester Guardian. I 
was then living at Johannesburg, and saw a good 
deal of him when he came up. The result of his 
visit, as all the world now knows, was his book, '' The 
War in South Africa,'' which I hold to be by far the 
best statement of the case that has appeared. 

At the outbreak of hostilities Mrs. Cronwright 
Schreiner and I were spending some time with a 
relative on the farm Karree Kloof, about three hours 
from the village of Strydenburg (between Hopetown 
and Prieska). Mr. Hobson, who was then in Cape 
Town, wired to Strydenburg asking me to go as 

B 



2 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

special war correspondent in the Boer lines for the 
Manchester Guardian. I replied that I hoped it 
might be possible, and at once started for Cape 
Town. 

A ten hours' drive brought us to Kran Kuil Station, 
where we slept that night During the night, the 
British eng^eers blew up the waggon bridge near 
Hopetown, the noise of which was faintly heard at 
Kran KuiL Passenger traffic was already suspended 
north of de Aar, the line being in possession of the 
military, who were hurrying troops up to Orange 
River Station. We got seats to de Aar in a return- 
ing military train. At de Aar, while we sat in the 
waiting-room, waiting for the passenger train to start, 
a soldier with fixed bayonet walked up to us, and, 
addressing me rudely, said, "Have you a ticket to 
remain on the platform?" I replied that we had 
passenger tickets from Kran Kuil to Cape Town, and 
were simply waiting for the train to start " Clear 
out off the platform,'' was his only reply. I answered 
that if that were the rule we should, of course, com- 
ply with it ; but added that there was a gentlemanly 
way of acquainting people with the rules. His only 
reply was "Clear out," and my wife and myself, on 
our own railways in our own native country, were 
marched off the platform at the point of the bayonet 
by a foreign soldier, for no reason whatever that we 
could see. It was a hot day, with clouds of dust, and 
we had to wait in the open, as we had to be near in 
case our train arrived. When we were admitted to 
the platform, to my surprise I found people in the 
waiting-room who had no platform tickets, and yet 
had not been turned off. Why were we speciaJly 
subjected to this insult ? 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 3 

Two other incidents at de Aar that day may be 
mentioned. 

A British soldier standing near said he was '' sick 

of the b thing." "Let's blow up the whole 

b lot," he added ; " I'm fed up, aheady." That 

was the foreign soldier, who loved neither our land 
nor our people. 

Near a window sat two Dutchmen of the Cape 
Colony. One of them was Jan Swegers, an old white- 
bearded man who farmed not far from Kran KuiL 
He spoke only Dutch, and he well deserved the epi- 
thet of " one of nature's gentlemen," bestowed upon 
him by a Jingo English South African lady. The 
other was a clergyman. The expression of their 
faces would have touched any heart capable of feeling. 
The clergyman said he could not understand it With 
a sob in his voice, he asked, " What have the Dutch 
done to deserve this? Where is the necessity for 
it? Neither England nor South Africa can benefit 
If there were but a reason for it! " My wife asked 
old Jan Swegers if he had any family. The gentle 
old man, who was nearly blind, answered that he had 
one son aUve, a grown up maa " There was another," 
he said, "a young man, who just a year ago came 
back from college; but he had been only a little 
while on the farm when he died." The old man 
paused a moment and then slowly said, " Jufvrouw 
(Madame), I thought it was a hard thing when he 
died, but when I look at that " — pointing out of the 
window to the soldiers, the rifles, and the cannon — " I 
know it was not hard." That was the South 
African who loved our land and our people, and who 
also was a most devoted lover of the Queen. 

On arrival at Cape Town, I decided not to accept 

B2. 



4 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Mr. Hobson's offer to go as war correspondent in 
the Boer lines for the Manchester Guardian, 

On informing Mr. Hobson of my decision, he asked 
me to rettim with him to England, to tell the British 
public the truth about South African matters, as he 
said I had ^exceptional qualifications, arising from the 
facts that I was one of the best known opponents of 
the Bond, a recognised pro-native man, and a Johan- 
nesburg Outlander of pure British blood. I replied I 
wished it were possible, as I would gladly go, but 
could not afford the expense. He then offered to 
guarantee half of my expenses if I would go. He 
said he could not guarantee more on the spot, but 
would write from England. 

In December he wrote from Limpsfield, Surrey, say- 
ing he had got £200 guaranteed, and asking me to 
come at once. I sailed on the loth of January, 1900, 
and arrived in England on the 26th. I was away 
from South Africa six months, landing at Cape Town 
again on the 25th of July. I received in all from 
Mr. Hobson £\^%. In addition I earned about ;C4S 
by writing, and £% by lectures, and was paid ;f 50 by 
the South African Conciliation Committee, and 
^35 5S- 7d. by the Stop the War Committee. These 
last two amounts were paid me spontaneously, as 
refunds for expenses incurred in attending meetings 
held under their auspices. Thus the total amount I 
received and earned was just under ;f 300, which 
would have been quite inadequate to meet the ex- 
penses of the sea voyages and in Great Britain, but 
that I Uved with Mr. Hobson and other friends. I 
have the assurance of Mr. Hobson and of both Com- 
mittees that none of the money has come from any 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 5 

but purely British people. Otherwise I should not 
have accepted it 

Ordinarily these details would be quite unneces- 
sary, but they are necessary in the present case, I am 
sorry to say, because British newspapers have so 
lied about my being in the pay of the South African 
Republic that the general British public have be- 
lieved it This lie, insinuated rather than made 
straight out, was one of the favourite methods of a 
very lai^e section of the Imperialist and capitalist 
Press for incensing the mobs and inciting them to 
break up my meetings and attack me personally. As 
a matter of fact, so ptmctilious was I on this matter 
that I refused to go to America when Mr. Montague 
White, Consul for the South African Republic in 
Great Britain, cabled from America for me to do so. 
And I refused to allow a leading French paper to 
publish an interview with me, because, as an English- 
man, I did not wish to appeal to continental feelings, 
though at the same time well assured that the 
capitalists had their papers on the Continent to lie 
to foreign Powers against the Boers. 

Let me add finally that my visit to Great Britain 
was in no way connected, directly or indirectly, with 
the Africander Bond, nor with any other political 
or other association or party or person in South Africa. 
I consulted no person and no party. I knew no one 
in the matter but Mr. Hobson. The matter was 
solely between Mr. Hobson and myself. I knew per- 
fectly well that the vast majority of British subjects 
in the Cape Colony were at one with me in my views, 
a fact which found expression on my return to Cape 
Town. But I went on my own accotmt, simply as 
an independent British subject, to tell what I knew to 
be the truth. 



CHAPTER II. 

FIRST DAYS IN ENGLAND. 

I arrived in England on the 26th of January, 1900 
(my birthday, by the way), and went at once to Mr. 
Hobson's house, Elmstead, Limpsfield, Surrey. On 
Sunday, the 27th, the ground was covered with snow 
to the depth of four or five inches. Mr. Hobson's 
children were speculating as to whether I had seen a 
real snow storm before, and were hugely delighted 
when they found this was my first I had seen a few 
flakes fall in South Africa, when farming at Krantz 
Plaats, and had seen the motmtain tops there white 
for a few da)rs every year, but I had never really seen 
a snow storm before, and had never had any snowball- 
ing — a pastime which the children gleefully intro- 
duced me to on Sunday morning. 

I shall never forget the exquisite appearance of the 
great elm trees in front of the house, with each twig 
encased in the most fragile coating of snow. No 
painting had ever conveyed to me any true idea of 
the delicate beauty of such a scene. A few days later, 
when we had frost, as I was walking up from the vil- 
lage, there was a shallow muddy pool by the road, 
covered with ice. I went and stood on it — the first 
time I had ever stood on ice in my life! On the 
lOth of February there was the heaviest fall of snow 
in recent years, quite stopping the traffic of London 
for a time. 

Not only was I an object of great interest to the 

( 6 ) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 7 

children, but I was actually asked by a lady whether 
we ordinarily spoke English in South Africa. I 
mention this apparently trivial circumstance to indi- 
cate the extraordinary ignorance that prevails among 
even cultured and well-intentioned persons in Great 
Britain with regard to South African affairs. Yet in 
a semi-democratic coimtry, such as Great Britain, it is 
exactly such persons who ultimately govern her policy 
towards South Africa. 

There were only two things in the English land- 
scape which, in comparison with South Africa, I 
really admired — ^the song of the nightingale and the 
delicate green of large mdsses of foliage in the early 
spring. We have no singing bird to compare vath 
the nightingale in South Africa, though we have some, 
notably the kokavik, with a few call-notes of full and 
resonant beauty, unsurpassed, if equalled, by the love- 
liest note of the nightingale ; and we have no masses 
of green of that light delicate shade which a whole 
wood of beeches ¥dll have in the spring in England 
Our sun is too hot and too incessant; it turns the 
leaves a dark green at once. But the weak sun, 
which seems only to blink and never really to awake 
up, the clouds and the damp air in England, allow a 
whole wood to have that exquisite tint of delicate 
green which only young shoots have with us, and that 
not for long. 

These two new charms I once enjoyed together in 
perfection. I was sleeping at Captain Alfred Car- 
penter's, " The Red House," Sanderstead. A couple 
of htmdred yards from the house, across a little dip, 
was a beech wood, all of this extraordinary pale tint 
and full of nightingales. The nightingales started 
to sing while it was quite li^t, and, when I awoke 



8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

in the small hours of the morning, their sweet soi^ 
was floating in at my open window. 

" Thou wert not bom for death, immortal bird, 
No hungry generations tread thee down ; 
The voice I hear this passing night was heard 

In ancient days by emperor and clown : 
Perhaps the selfsame song that found a path 
Through the sad heart of Ruth, when, sick for 
home, 
She stood in tears amid the alien com ; 
The same that ofttimes hath 
Charmed magic casements, opening on the foam 
Of perilous seas, in faery lands forlorn.*' 

On the other hand, I was stmck with the smallness 
and tameness of everything, the insignificance of the 
wild flowery, and the haziness of the atmosphere. 
There is no yeld ; even the most typically country 
parts bear everywhere traces of man's presence. Even 
where no houses are visible, you can plainly see that 
man has been there. This tameness is, for South 
Africans, contributed to by the fact that the woods are 
composed of trees that we are accustomed to see 
only in cultivation, so that, though composed of indi- 
genous trees and comparatively wild, they still have a 
garden look to us. Then, you cannot see any dis- 
tance. On an "exceptionally clear day" we saw a 
hill fifty miles away ; that was the test of its being 
"exceptionally clear." But the hill was indistinct, 
and almost melted into the haze. Even on the 
clearest, brightest day in England there is always, to 
a South African (especially to an " up-country " man), 
a most pronounced haze, even at a short distance. I 
am writing to-day in the Karoo, in the little village of 



... :ifi:W YORK 

cJi.iC LIBRARY 



AtTOK, LXN9Z 

HLDBN XOUNDATIOMl 



OLIVE SCHREIMiR 
Taken al Kiinb-^rlcy, i)<96 



i 
'I. 



Taken at Johaiui.;sbuig, iSgtl 



« 

I X V t 







THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 9 

Hanover, 4,700 feet above the sea. If I go outside 
on to the flat I can see distinctly as far as there is 
anything to see. Fifty miles away, as the crow fiies^ 
is Spitz Kop (Compass Berg), 8,000 ft High, juttix^ 
into the blue sky as though its edges were cut with 
a diamond I can, even with the naked eye, see the 
krantz on it Things do not fade away or become 
absorbed in a haze here; they grow small in the 
distance, but they remain dear. A feeling of impa- 
tience used to come over me in England — " When is 
it going to lift and get clear ? " I got to recognise 
that it never became clear and big. Going about the 
country, with its fields surrounded by banks all square 
and white with snow, was like strolling through a re- 
staurant with small white tables, as compared with the 
boundless expanse and unsubdued wildness of South 
Africa. 

On the 1 2th of February I met, for the first time, 
the Positivists, in the Positivist Hall, Fetter Lane. 
Among others present were Mr. Frederic Harrison, 
Professor Beesly, and Dr. Bridges. It was a very 
interesting meeting. After a few remarks, a great 
number of questions were put to me by those present 
They were particularly interested in tihe native ques- 
tion. I was much struck by the very exception- 
ally accurate knowledge of South African affairs that 
was general among them. The Society is composed 
almost wholly of people of culture and advanced 
social feeling, which no doubt accotmts for the re- 
markable and honourable fact that the Positivists are, 
I believe, the only society in Great Britain every one 
of whose members condemned the war. 

On the 1 6th, at the invitation of Lady Isabel Mar- 



10 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

gesson, I met a party of ladies and gentlemen at the 
Sesame Club, among them being the Marchioness of 
Ripon and Mrs. Ashton Jonsoa About an hour was 
spent in discussing South African affairs. 



CHAPTER III. 

CONFERENCE OF LIBERALS, I4TH OF FEBRUARY; 

CANNING TOWN, i8TH OF FEBRUARY; 

HASTINGS, I9TH OF FEBRUARY. 

On the 14th of February a Conference of Liberals 
was held in the Westminster Palace Hotel, sum- 
moned by a powerful Liberal Committee, among 
whose members, in addition to others mentioned later, 
were Dr. R. Spence Watson, Mr. John A Bright, Mr. 
Henry N. Gladstone, Mr. Henry J. Wilson, M.P., and 
Mr. Bryn Roberts, M.P. The Conference was excel- 
lently attended, and the proceedings characterised by 
enthusiastic unanimity and a most stalwart spirit. It 
condemned the war, demanded publication of the sup- 
pressed correspondence, and other evidence relating 
to the Raid, condemned the use of " bluster and vuU 
gar insult," advocated a conciliatory spirit towards 
foreign Powers and the supporting and stimulating of 
the independence of small nationalities, and expressed 
appreciation of the strenuous efforts for peace made 
by the Ministers of the Cape and Natal, and a deep 
sense of the severe strain inflicted upon the Dutch 
of the Colonies. Among the speakers were Mr. R. 
C Lehmann (in the chair). Sir Wilfred Lawson, M.P., 
Mr. Lloyd George M.P., Mr. T. Burt, M.P., Sir 
Brampton Gurdon, M.P., Mr. C. P. Scott, M.P., Mr. F. 
A. Channing, M.P., Mr. F. Maddison, M.P., Sir John 
Brunner, M.P., Mr. G. W. E. Russell, Mr. Frederic 

( " ) 



12 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Harrison, Mr. Wicksteed, Mr. Herbert Paul, and 
others. 

I was asked to second the resolution referring to 
the Colonies. The following report of what I said 
is taken from the Report of the Conference pubUshed 
in pamphlet form by The League Against Aggression 
and Mihtarism: — 

"Mr. Cronwright Schreiner said: I have been 
asked to second this resolution since I came into this 
room, and I have been asked to preface my remarks 
with a statement concerning myself. Let me then 
say that I am an Outlander from Johannesburg, where 
I have lived continually since 1898. I have been all 
along in close touch with the Transvaal leaders in 
Pretoria, with the Orange Free State, and the Cape 
Colony. Before going to Johannesburg, I lived for 
four years in Kimberley (where, I may say, en passant^ 
I saw the abject state of subjection and entire loss of 
social and political freedom to which a white popula- 
tion can be reduced under the heel of a grinding and 
soulless monopolistic company), and, before that, after 
finishing my college course in Grahamstown, I farmed 
for nearly ten years among the Dutch in the districts 
of Somerset East and Cradock. I speak both lan- 
guages, and am the third generation of pure British 
descent in South Africa, and never even saw England 
until three years ago ; and I am in no way a blood 
relation of the Schreiner family. When I left Johan- 
nesburg some weeks before the war, I took a return 
railway ticket, for this reason: I did not think it 
possible that an upright and just and free nation, as 
I knew England to be, could possibly do such an 
outrageous thing as to wage war on South Africa. 
(Hear, hear.) Now, why was I justified in holding 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 13 

that belief? I knew» in the first place, that all that 
had been originally demanded of the Transvaal had 
been conceded, and that there was no further justifi- 
cation for any interference from outside (if there ever 
were justification at all, which I deny). It was well 
known that if the Transvaal were left to itself, there 
were elements in the Boer population ready to cham- 
pion the Outlander cause. It is incontrovertible that 
that section headed by General Joubert had already 
taken the Outlander cause up warmly, and was only 
waiting for a cessation of danger from attack by 
England to make it their political cry. That section 
joined with the Outlanders, and, supported, as it 
would have been, except for the Raid and its condo* 
nation, by the Dutch population throughout the rest 
of South Africa, would, I make bold to say, have 
settled the Outlander problem satisfactorily within 
two years. The Free State was using its most 
strenuous endeavours to maintain peace, and the 
Dutch of the Colony, led by Mr. Hofmeyr and the 
Cabinet, and aided by the sanest English of the coun- 
try, were doing the same, because none of us who 
loved the South African peoples and imderstood the 
coimtry, desired war, and because those of us who 
also loved England and the Empire intensely, knew 
that nothing could be so bad for England in South 
Africa as war. The Transvaal was equally eager to 
preserve peace. Why, indeed, should those peaceful 
farmers desire war ? (Hear, hear.) The peaceful solu- 
tion of South African difiiculties was hindered by the 
British Ministr/s aggressive and dishonourable atti* 
tude towards the Transvaal, and by their ignoring the 
advice of the Cape Ministry, and preferring that of so 
ill-informed and biassed a man as Sir Alfred Milner. 



14 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

If South Africa is alienated from the Empire it will 
be because the advice of the Cape Ministry was not 
followed — the advice of men who loved both England 
and South Africa ardently, and who best understood 
how to hold them united (Hear, hear.) When Mr. 
Chamberlain refused to Usten to these men and pre- 
ferred to be guided by the grave misrepresentations 
of Sir Alfred Milner, there could be only one end — 
war. War was forced on South Africa by capitalist 
intrigue. It is unjust, unnecessary, and disastrous to 
South Africa and England Now I can see only one 
solution to the difficulty, that is to restore their in- 
ternal independence to those brave republics. (Ap- 
plause.) Mr. Chamberlain committed the act of war ; 
Mr. Kruger but made the first strat^c move. If you 
do not give them their independence, you will have 
to dragoon, not only the republics, but the whole of 
South Africa, for the vast majority of whites in South 
Africa (I am one of them) hold that an outrage has 
been committed on the republics ; you will have, in 
that case, to hold them in subjection, which you cannot 
do for ever. If that is attempted, when the opportune 
moment comes. South Africa will rise, and England 
will lose it But I cannot think England will do such 
a thing. It must be repugnant to a brave people to 
crush the brave, for a free people to crush out free- 
dom. (Hear, hear.) If England determine to wipe 
out the republics, it is strong enough to do it to-day, 
but they will go out in a blaze of splendour that will 
recall Thermopylae, whilst the historian of the future 
will compare England with the most decadent days 
of the Roman Empire. (Applause.) Not only do we 
wish to keep South Africa through the affection of its 
people, but we desire more to keep England's honour 



J 



n 



It :. 



* 



.t t./ ''^^ 



t • . . . • — " * 









rv. 



Eii.irT Hos. LEONARD COl'RTNEY 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 15 

unsullied. I know that England is waging a war and 
assisting a cause which, if it knew the truth, would 
be repugnant to it, and I know the English people 
have been led into this terrible crime because they 
have been lied to as never people have been lied to 
before. (Applause.) " 

I soon received a large number of requests to speak 
at various places. Knowing little of England and 
Scotland, and but a handful of people, I discussed with 
those condemners of the war with whom I was best 
acquainted as to how these invitations should be met. 

It was eventually decided that I should place the 
arrangements in the hands of the South African Con- 
ciliation and the Stop the War Committees in 
London, who would arrange for the meetings in the 
various centres through their several local committees ; 
and a northern tour was arranged, to begin at Brad- 
ford on the 27th of February. In the meantime, 
however, there were several places at which I arranged 
to speak. 

Canning Town, E. 

At the invitation of the Rev. Percy Alden I 
went down to Canning Town to speak on 
Stmday, the i8th of February. Mr. Alden is 
Vicar of a University Settlement there, called Mans- 
field House, devoted to work among the labouring 
population of that poor quarter. Mrs. Alden, who is a 
medical doctor, told me that the Sunday previous she 
had preached to the people from " The Sunlight Lay 
Across My Bed." After dinner, at i p.m., we went to 
Mansfield Hall and found it full of workmen and their 
wives. As I passed down the street I noticed posters 
four or five feet long notifying the meeting and giving 
special prominence to my name. I mention this to 



i6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

show that the meeting was publicly advertised The 
meeting was practically unanimous in its condemna- 
tion of the war. There was a man among the 
audience who interrupted several times ; he was, how- 
ever, not quick at repartee, and was soon silenced 
Remarking that he would ask questions when I had 
finished speaking, he lapsed into silence and made 
a great show of taking notes. But towards the end 
of the meeting he pocketed his notes and hurriedly 
left Numerous questions were put, one working 
man bringing down thunders of applause by asking 
if Turkey were not England's only ally " in Uiis dirty 
business." There was one feature of the meeting 
which made a deep impression on me. I mentioned 
that in the Colony we believed that the Queen was 
opposed to the war, and had done all she could to 
prevent it. In South Africa this would have called 
forth a great cheer; mention of the Queen's name 
always does, either with a Dutch or English audience. 
But here in England it was received with an ominous 
and oppressive silence. It was my first experience of 
the fact, which I had repeatedly confirmed later, 
that in the Colony, not to mention the English South 
Africans, the Dutch themselves hold the Queen per- 
sonally in much deeper veneration than do the people 
of the British Isles. The Dutch give the Queen a pecu- 
liar love as " a good Christian woman," who cares for 
them and loves peace. Will that love stand the 
awful strain put upon it so unjustly and so cruelly? 
Will any reasonable man be surprised if in future her 
name be received by the Dutch of the Colony with 
the same stony silence in which it is now so often re- 
ceived by audiences in England— or in Ireland ?* 

* Since this was written the Queen has died. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 17 

I append a short newspaper report of the 
meeting: — 

" On Sunday afternoon, at Mansfield House Settle- 
ment, Mr. Cronwright Schreiner had a crowded, most 
attentive, and intelligent audience, who listened to 
him for over an hour with great sympathy. The gist 
of the speaker's remarks was as follows :—: 

" His object was to save South Africa for the Em- 
pire. The British had paraded before them many so- 
called grievances of Outlanders, but in most matters 
the grievances were without foundation, and in others 
there was but a substratum of truth, which had been 
enormously exaggerated and used as a stalking-horse 
for the ulterior purposes of the capitalists. The 
great capitalists headed by Mr. Rhodes were behind 
the war and had misled the English in a most dis- 
graceful manner by appeals to their sense of justice, 
chivalry, and fair play. England stood in a grave 
way of losing South Africa. The vast majority of the 
people were Dutch, who spoke with veneration of 
the Queen, whose portrait could be seen in most farm- 
houses. If the independence of the republics was 
taken away, England would certainly lose South 
Africa (A voice: 'A second Ireland.*) There 
would be another America and another Ireland 

" At the close of the lecture Mr. Schreiner replied 
to a number of questions. He disclaimed being the 
protagonist of the Boers ; in many respects he con- 
sidered President Kruger to have been greatly mis- 
taken. There was, he believed, among the Boers a 
very widespread sentiment indeed that the Queen 
herself was personally strongly against the war. 
Asked whether he believed that, in the last resort. 



i8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

the Boer women wotdd take the field, Mr. Schreiner 
replied that he thought they would." 

Mr. Percy Alden is an example of the enormous 
influence one well-informed truth-loving man can 
have. His influence and that of his wife and his able 
and unselfish colleagues was manifested in the high 
tone of the labouring classes they lived among. 

The Canning Town meeting is particularly interest- 
ing as showing that, before the mobs were worked 
up by the Imperialist Press and the agents of the 
war party to wreck meetings and attack the prin- 
cipal speakers, it was possible to hold a well adver- 
tised meeting against the war in a densely populated 
part of London, without any mob gathering, without 
any rowdyism, without pohce protection, or any other 
precautions against disturbance. The orderly beha- 
viour of the meeting, I feel certain, in the light of my 
subsequent experiences, was also in a measure due to 
the fact that Canning Town is a working man's part 
of the Metropolis, and that there are no "gentry" 
there. 

Hastings. 

A meeting was arranged for Hastings on the 
evening of the 19th of February. I was adver- 
tised to deliver a lecture upon South Africa, and occa- 
sion was to be taken at the same time to form a local 
branch of the South African CondUation Conmiittee. 
I had the pleasure of being the guest of Mr. and Mrs. 
John A Bright, " Minora," St Leonards The meet- 
ing, admission to which was by ticket, was held in 
the Wellington Square Lecture HalL There was a 
crowded and enthusiastic attendance, all, except a 
sprinkling of what the newspapers called the Impe- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 19 

rialist party, being in sympathy with the object of the 
meeting. There was not much interruption in the 
Hall, but outside a mob began to assemble in the 
vicinity of the Hall soon after eight o'clock, rapidly 
assuming large proportions, until the services of a 
detachment of police and detectives was required to 
keep it in order. Within the Hall we could hear the 
Imperialists shouting and singing "patriotic'' songs 
outside, but this caused no appreciable inconvenience. 

Mr. Bright was in the chair. The foUowii^ resolu- 
tion was moved by the Rev. Gardner Preston and 
seconded by Mrs. Strickland: — 

" That this meeting deplores the incompetent dipk>« 
macy which has resulted in a war between this country 
and the South African Republics. It urges the coun- 
try to make clear as soon as possible to the republics 
the terms of settlement whidi would be accepted by 
Great Britain, and holds that these terms, while safe- 
guarding all legitimate British interests, should be 
such as to leave intact the internal independence of 
the republics." 

The papers described my reception as '* vociferous." 
My problem, I said, was how to save South Africa for 
the British Empire. I pointed out how the war was 
the outcome of a capitalist intrigue which began with 
the Raid and its condonation, how the Press had been 
bought up, and how the Dutch believed that Mr 
Chamberlain was behind the Raid. Coming to Sir 
Alfred Milner, I said that England once had a Milner, 
but had cut his head ofiF and had recently put up a 
statue to the man who did it (Cromwell). This was 
greatly cheered We would be satisfied, I added, if 
the English people would recall him. The only 
people who stood to gain were the capitalists; the 

ca 



20 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

working men and the natives would sufiPer, while the 
gravest injustice was being done to the Dutch, which 
would alienate South Africa unless a policy of justice 
were quickly carried out 

The resolution was carried by an overwhelming 
and enthusiastic majority, after which the meeting 
dispersed in an orderly manner. We left the Hall at 
about 10 o'clock. 

Mr. Bright's carriage stood in the street opposite 
the door. The mob crowded around the carriage. 
We were received with loud and angry shouts by 
these Imperialists, but the police kept a passage open 
from the door to the carriage. Once in the carriage, 
which was not so easily accomplished, as the horse 
was frightened by the noise and the crowding mob, 
we were urged by the police to get away at once, and 
drove off, the police keeping the Imperialists in check. 
Mrs. Bright, who was in very delicate health, behaved 
with great coolness and courage. I wondered then» 
and the thought often occurred to me afterwardsi 
when I saw great mad mobs, whether the people who 
behave in this degrading manner think how repulsive 
and un-human their faces become when convulsed 
with low passioa Could they but see their faces as 
I have seen them, I do believe it would horrify some 
of them in their cooler moments. One realises how 
close mankind is to the '' ape and tiger," and how thin 
a veneer separates multitudes of so-called civilised 
persons from the lowest savage. It is a very depress* 
ing sight ; one has to pull oneself together and re- 
member that there is another strong advanced sec* 
tion, more highly developed, always a minority, whose 
influence makes for progress through the ages. 

The local newspapers gave a very garbled report of 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 31 

■ 

the meeting, minimising its success and the disgust* 
ing and cowardly rowdyism of the Imperialists — a 
method I found subsequently to be almost invariably 
ptirsued by the Imperialist Press, generally in so 
flagrant a manner that the intent to misrepresent 
deliberately was unmistakable. 

It was a pleasure to know the John Brights. Often 
in these decadent times has the cry gone up from 
earnest, unselfish souls for the voice of the great 
Orator, well as his family have upheld the noble 
traditions associated with his name. 

Mrs. Bright pointed out to me a thrush, the first 
I had seen, and said a robin Uved in the gardea A 
few crumbs on the grass brought the bright little 
creature out at once. I had never seen one before. 
He was a charming Uttle bird, reminding me greatly 
of our " dak-breeker," especially in the peculiar flash 
of the wings. I had expected red on the breast, but 
it was a rusty yellow, and not for a moment to be 
compared with the blaze of colour that spans the 
breast of our honey-sucker (collared sun bird). Still, 
the delightful little creature, as he danced about gaily 
in his gaudy and dandy waistcoat, looked beautifully 
warm and cosy. 



CHAPTER IV. 

LEICESTER, 20TH OF FEBRUARY, 

On the 20th of February, the Leicester Stop the 
War Committee held a meeting to protest against the 
war, at which I was the chief speaker. Mr. George 
Thome and Mr. E. W. Nunn were also asked to 
speak. The result was one of the most uproarious 
meetings, if not the most uproarious, ever held in 
Leicester. 

Admission to the meeting was strictly by ticket, 
but rumours (which proved to be true) of an organised 
and paid plot to wreck the meeting having come to 
the Chairman's ears, he made arrangements with the 
Chief Constable for paid officers to take charge of 
the door, in addition to the police force that was to 
be present It will appear later in what manner the 
police performed their duty. 

As we approached the Co-operative Hall, where 
the meeting was held, the sounds of a great uproar 
reached u& To enter it we had to pass through a 
crowd that had already begun to assemble outside, 
even at the private entrance. While we waited in one 
of the ante-rooms for the hour of the meeting to 
strike, the noise was deafening. Cheers, shouts, 
snatches of songs, all inextricably mixed, indicated 
that a very powerful and rowdy Imperialist element 
bad somehow gained admittance. Every now and 
then a few notes of " God Save the Queen " would 
be succeeded by great cheering; but the only tune 

( aa ) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 23 

which the Imperialists were capable of singing in 
unison was the chorus of " Soldiers of the Queen,'' a 
music-hall tune which had a perfectly extraordinary 
vogue throughout the country, the one song of the 
ImperiaUst mobs. I got to know the air well enough 
later, for every meeting of mine that ended in a riot 
was broken up to the inspiring strains of this classical 
song* 

The scene that met our eyes and the din that 
greeted our ears as we walked on to the platform 
bafiBe descriptioa The Hall was packed, the people 
standing thick at the back. It was clear, notwith- 
standing the fact that the meeting was by ticket and 
in no sense a public one, that somewhat more than 
a third of those present were violently hostile and 
were there with the purpose of wrecking it The 
back part of the audience rose to their feet, shouting 
and gesticulating wildly, while a large number of the 
front part, after risii^ and cheering enthusiastically, 
turned round and tried to quiet the others. The 
result was pandemonium. 

The following description of the meeting is from 
the Leicester Daily Post, which, thoi^h largely 
biassed against the promoters and the object of the 
meeting, and minimising the disgraceful behaviour of 
the Imperialists, yet serves to convey some idea of 
what took place. I reserve some comments for a 
later page, but it should be said at once that the 
account is not fair to the chairman. 

" For something like two hours last night the Co- 
operative Hall was the scene of what will probably 

* As this song was one of the features of the national 
life of the time, I ^ve the words and air of the chorus. 
(Appendix £•) 



24 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

rank as one of the most uproarious meetings ever held 
in Leicester. It was a meeting promoted by the local 
supporters of the stop-the-war party, who had deter- 
mined to test the feeling of the town on the question 
of the conflict now going on in South Africa. From 
the point of view of the promoters the experiment can 
only be described as a ghastly failure ; doubtless, in 
the view of the organised opposition, the affair was a 
huge success. The platform, with the important ex- 
ception of Mr. Cronwright Schreiner, lost its temper 
at an early stage of the proceedings; it lost its 
dignity by the methods it adopted to restore order, 
and, almost as a matter of course, it lost the resolution 
as well The meeting was a little unfortunately de^ 
scribed on tBe tickets as a public meeting, but admis- 
sion was exclusively by ticket How it came about 
that, in spite of a discreet circulation of the tickets 
printed, something like two-thirds of those present 
were violently antagonistic to the object of the meet- 
ing, is a m}^tery. Possibly it is explained in part, 
though not wholly, by the fact that amongst the 
tickets collected at the doors was a considerable num- 
ber which the promoters of the meeting allege were 
not issued by them. However that may be, the fact 
remains that the assembly was largely made up of 
young men who had banded themselves together 
with the avowed purpose of upsetting the proceed- 
ings, and whether their efforts deserved success or not 
they certainly achieved it Apart from the purely 
rowdy element, there was another section of the 
opposition, and no inconsiderable one, which was pre- 
pared to act on the principle of fair play, by giving 
the speakers a hearing and then movii^ an amend- 
ment, and it is only right to say that the leaders of 



/ 



'}^t 



w^ "f 



n?C 



jUBLj 



\m^^^ 



«»«•* 



*«*'*;,,« DAtioii 



tix.'?52, 



fouii 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 25 

this section did ail in their power to assist the gentle* 
men on the platform, who, however, for the most part 
displayed such a lamentable want of tact that to suc- 
cessfully carry on the meeting proved an utterly hope- 
less undertaking. Long before eight o'clock the Hall 
was packed, and the opposition evidently well in 
possessioa The singing of ' Soldiers of the Queen,' 
^ Rule Britannia,' and the National Anthem was inter- 
spersed with cheers for the Generals at the front, 
given with a power of lung that boded ill for the 
subsequent hearing of the speakers. Anticipating to 
some extent the intentions of the opponents, a fairly 
strong force of police occupied strat^cal points in 
various parts of the room, and let it be said at once 
that they did all that lay in their power to quell the 
uproar, short of resorting to forcible ejections, whidb, 
in all probabiUty, would have broi^ht about what 
they most wished to avoid, namely, personal violence. 
Minor acts of violence did occur; once a piece of 
wood was thrown at the Chairman by somebody in 
the body of the Hall, and on another occasion a few 
people in front were bespattered with what sus- 
piciously resembled the contents of an egg in a high 
state of preservation. 

''The appearance of Councillor Chaplin, accom- 
panied by Mr. Cronwright Schreiner, Mr. Wicks, 
Councillor Mann, Mr. A. C. Wilson, Councillor 
Banton, and others, was the signal for a chorus of 
deep and well-sustained groans^ shrill whistling, and 
loud hooting, varied on the part of the more skilled 
artists by catcalls and imitations of familiar farm-yard 
sounds. The Chairman, with Sphinx-like demeanour, 
stood for several minutes awaiting a lull in the storm. 
Eventually there was a lull^ but the moment Council- 



26 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

lor Chaplin opened his mouth the outcry was re- 
newed, and arose to such a pitch that, loud as the 
Chairman shouted, he was only heard by those near 
the platform. From a tactical point of view he made 
a bad start, seeking to restore order with a vague 
threat as to what the police would do if the disturb- 
ance did not cease. Without attempting further 
speech at this stage, the Chairman called on Mr. 
Wicks to read a letter from Sir John Rolleston, a 
request that possibly the audience misunderstood, for 
they responded with a capital rendering of 'Good 
Old JefiF,' which could hardly have been intended to 
apply to Sir John. Mr. Wicks struggled bravely with 
his task, but for all the effect produced he might 
have been crying in the wilderness. Nobody listened 
to him, and the Chairman's second threat, this time in 
less ambiguous terms, that the police would be asked 
'to do their duty,' and remove the disturbers, only 
provoked shouts of laughter and derision, followed by 
* Three cheers for Bobs.' Mr. Wicks had no better 
success when backed up by an appeal from Mr. Lee- 
son, who it was known would second the amendment, 
and who asked the meeting to give fair play and 
liberty of speech. Ultimately Mr. Wicks threw up 
his task in despair, observing, with a sort of ' though- 
one-rose-from-the-dead ' expression, 'if they won't 
hear Rolleston they won't hear anybody.* It is very 
doubtful if the majority present had the slightest idea 
whose letter he was reading, or whether it was a letter 
at alL Then the Chairman tried again, endeavouring 
in a voice like a trumpet to express his views on the 
war. The opposition had now warmed up to its work, 
and it was a pitched battle between the two— the 
Chairman and those who were trying to shout him 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 27 

down. Both exhibited a power of long that was 
simply amazing, and for some minutes the uproar was 
deafening. Mr. Cobley, the mover of the resolution, 
failed to make any better impression, though he 
hardly provoked his hearers to tlie extent the Chair- 
man did The resolution described the war as a 
^Scandal to Christendom and a disgrace to civilisa- 
tion,' which it was the duty of all good citizens to 
stop. Mr. Carter, who seconded, added fuel to the 
flame by denouncing the opposition as a 'squalling 
mob/ and otherwise taunting them. Then occurred 
the most dramatic incident of the evening. Someone 
informed the Chairman that bogus tickets had been 
printed, and Mr. Chaplin, allowing temper to over- 
rule discretion, denounced the perpetrators of the 
alleged fraud in a series of epithets which, to say the 
least of it, were neither too polite nor too wisely 
chosen. In some way associating the Conservative 
party with the matter, he proceeded to describe it as 
'a dirty mean trick,' and the men who were respon- 
sible for it as 'dastardly scoundrels' and 'dirty 
prigs.' The scene following this ebullition of feeling 
on the part of the gentleman supposed to be control- 
ling the meeting was of a character that simply 
beggars descriptioa While forty people were tryii^ 
to rise to points of order and protest against the 
Chairman's language, a hundred others flung back the 
epithets, and others again produced their tickets to 
prove their genuineness. The babel of sounds con- 
tinued for some minutes without the slightest inter- 
mission, and it seemed as if the continuation of the 
meeting would be an impossibihty. Several gentle- 
men connected with the Conservative party called 
upon the Chairman to make good his insinuatkm 



28 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

against them, but Mr. Chaplin's only reply was that 
'he had been told it was the Conservative party/ 
In the midst of the hubbub, the Transvaal Outlander^ 
Mr. Cronwright Schreiner (husband of the celebrated 
authoress) was called upon to address the meeting* 
but scarcely attempted to begin while the terrific din 
was going on, the shouting being now lai^ely con^ 
fined to demands that the Chairman should withdraw 
his recent observations. Mr. Famworth, a Liberal, 
suggested to Mr. Schreiner that a withdrawal on the 
part of the Chairman of the offensive terms used 
would 'ease the temper of the meeting,' and ulti- 
mately, when Mr. Chaplin was understood to have 
modified his language on that particular subject, Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner was able to make himself 
heard His quiet manner and gentlemanly bearing 
had considerable effect, even upon the worst of the 
disaffected spirits, and his courteous replies to per- 
sonal questions that were not in the best taste to some 
extent disarmed his opponents. Having satisfactorily 
disposed of the suspicion that he was a Boer, Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner further increased the impression 
he had made by avowing himself to be thoroughly 
loyal to this country, and callii^ for hearty cheers 
for 'the British soldiers who are fighting for our 
Empire in South Africa,' and for the Queen. This 
opening largely took the wind out of the sails of 
the opposition, who, for a time, contented themselves 
with interjecting an occasional remark or question. 
But they had all the worst of it in that form of war- 
fare, for Mr. Schreiner was exceedingly smart in 
repartee. For instance, while he was referring ta 
Kimberley, someone shouted, 'A good job you are 
not there,' to which the speaker replied with a smile^ 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 29 

*I rejoice to think my friend would rather have me 
liere than there.' The most effective rejoinder the 
interrupter could think of was ' Well, I wish the Chair- 
man was there ' — a sentiment which it must be con* 
fessed was heartily concurred in from all sides. 
Another time when someone asked, 'What has be- 
come of your property in Johannesburg?' Mr. 
Schreiner replied, 'I am told the Outlanders have 
looted it,* but hastened to add that he did not think 
it was true. A little later, when stating the number 
of white inhabitants in the Transvaal, he was inter- 
rupted with ' Rats I * but retorted like lightning with 
•No, exclusive of rats!' For a short time Mr. 
Schreiner was listened to with only occasional inter- 
ruptions, but gradually signs of impatience were 
manifested, especially when he began to associate the 
cause of the war with the Jameson Raid. Someone 
loudly disputed the speaker's assertion that Mr. 
Rhodes conceived the plot and financed it, upon 
which Mr. Schreiner was constrained to observe that 
'the gentleman's ignorance was only equalled by his 
noisiness.' Cheers from outside the building cotdd 
now be heard, and were responded to with cheers 
from within, and once more the refrain of 'Soldiers 
of the Queen ' was taken up by the disturbing ele- 
ment, the suggestion being that they had heard 
enough of the speaker. From this point all efforts 
to restore order were of no avail. Mr. Schreiner 
addressed the remainder of his remarks at close quar- 
ters to the reporters, amid a din that would have 
put Bedlam to shame Mr. Famworth secured a 
hearing for a moment by the device of waving a 
Union Jack, and, in response to his suggestion of 
whether they would hear Mr. Schreiner if they had 



30 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

another chairman, a terrific shout of " Yes " went up, 
but, entirely undismayed, Mr. Chaplin hurled back the 
challenge, ' There wUl be no other chairman here to- 
night' After first declaring the meeting closed, the 
Chairman put the resolution, and, apparently, about 
one-third of those present voted in its favour. The rest, 
with a mighty shout, signified their disapproval, and 
the Chairman, though making no declaration, inti- 
mated to a Press representative that he considered the 
resolution lost A futile effort was now made to 
move the amendment, but the most hopeless confu- 
sion and disorder reigned, and the police, after per- 
suading Mr. Sowtar to relinquish the attempt, de- 
voted themselves to the task of inducing the people 
to disperse. Ultimately, after another rendering of 
the National Anthem, the room began to dear, and 
one of the most remarkable meetings ever held in 
Leicester was brought to a conclusion. A large 
crowd gathered in the street and hooted and groaned 
to their hearts' content as the spectators left the 
building." 

The local papers blamed the Chairman for the 
failure of the meeting; but this is not just 
Here was a ticket meeting, and, in that sense, a 
strictly private gathering, captured by Imperialists, 
who had forged tickets, who would allow no one to 
speak, who came armed with dangerous and offensive 
missiles, with the fixed object of breaking up the 
meeting, some of them having been paid to do so. 
Strategically, it was not wise of the Chairman to use 
the expressions he did, or to order the police to 
remove any man, considering the strength of the 
rowdies and the obvious sympathy of the police with 
them. But if a dastardly act ever deserved that it 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 31 

should be stigmatised by its fitting epithet, the 
Chairman was then morally justified in applying it 

The papers also minimised the forging of tickets 
by the Imperialists. . That was but a sign of the 
degradation of the Imperialist Press almost through- 
out the country; but the Midland Free Press, of 
Leicester, had some stinging words about it: — 
** Somebody said the present war was brought about 
by 'lying, forgery, and fraud,' and the Leicester 
Jingoes seem determined to support it by the same 
methods. Ticket forging is by no means a new 
departure on the part of a section of the Tory party, 
and making men drunk to break up meetii^ is quite 
and old device of the same section." 

Before the meeting was held its promoters had 
heard that tickets had been forged, but too late for 
them to be able to take effective measures to pro* 
tect the meeting by the issue of new and elalxurately 
safeguarded tickets. Hoping, however, to minimise 
the risk of admission by forgeries to some extent, 
they had paid police to take charge of the hall door, 
to whom they issued instructions to admit only en* 
dorsed tickets. Thisj^however, failed of its object for 
two reasons: the police favoured the Jingoes, and 
many other Imperialists obtained admission by forged 
tickets on which the endorsement had, in addition, 
been forged by means of a cyclostyle. A good many 
friends of the meeting were, unfortunately, kept out, 
as they had not been able to get tickets endorsed in 
time. The extent to which the police favoured the 
rowdies may be inferred from the fact that one of 
them was actually seen to start, within the hall, the 
singing of " Soldiers of the Queen." 

The demonstration to the meeting of the forgery 



32 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

was a very dramatic incident The promoters of the 
meetings relying largely upon the measures they had 
taken to safeguard it, were puzzled to account for the 
very large nimiber of rowdy and hostile Imperialists 
present The matter was soon explained After 
the uproar had continued some time, no one being 
allowed a hearing, two tickets were passed up to the 
Chairman. It became evident on comparing them 
that one was a forgery. The printed ticket had been 
copied, but the imitation, differing slightly in type, 
was not quite close enough to prevent the detection 
of the fraud when a comparison was made with a 
little care. The Chairman rose at once with some 
justifiable heat, and pointed out the disgraceful thing 
that had been done. His assertion was angrily and 
vociferously denied, but he displayed the two cards, 
and then passed them down to the audience for veri* 
fication, when the manifest forgery became undeni* 
able. An Imperialist in the body of the hall got hold 
of them, and, doubtless with the idea of destroying 
the damning evidence showed the strongest reluct* 
ance to rettim them. The Chairman insisted upon 
their being returned to him, but could not get them 
until he asked some s)anpathisers to secure them. 
Then the Imperialist, seeing resistance was useless, 
reluctantly gave them up. The scene that followed 
is simply indescribable. If the Chairman waxed 
warm, had he not insult and aggravation enough? 
Are the Imperialists to blame him— either they who 
committed the forgery or they who condoned it, or 
they who sat by without denoundx^ it, and saw a 
private meeting wrecked by a mob in sympathy with 
their views, many of whom had got in by forgery? 
No one had been able to speak when I rose, and, 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 33 

following on the exposure of the forgery, the noise 
was at its height and the room throbbing with 
anger. While the uproar was going on, I ran my eye 
over the people, noting the different types and ex- 
pressions of face, and was much amused at a very 
angry man with a greyish black beard, who occupied 
a place near the front on my right Rising wildly 
and hurling his right hand out towards me, he shouted, 
*' There's a Darwinian theory for you I " Unfortu- 
nately, the noise was so great that this scientific re- 
mark would have been lost to posterity but that my 
eye caught the speaker at the psychological moment 
I waited quietly for a little time, when the noise 
began to subside somewhat. I suppose curiosity had 
something to do with it Before the noise had died 
down, several Imperialists arose in various parts of 
the hall to ask me questions. But the Chairman 
would not allow this, he said, until I had spoken. 
This caused another noisy outbreak, which the Chair- 
man threatened to queU by calling in the aid of the 
poUce. However, on my asking him to leave the 
meeting to me, he at once did so. Spotting a clean 
shaven man (whom the paper describes as Mr. Fam* 
worth), to whom some of the ImperiaUsts apparently 
looked for guidance, I asked him what he wanted of 
me. He said he would like the Chairman to with- 
draw the epithets he had used indiscriminately about 
the forged tickets. I pointed out that the Chairman 
had had much aggravation, but felt sure he would do 
as he requested, as he did at once, with the remark 
that he would say such an act was "un-English.'* 
Mr. Famworth sat down ; the audience gave a cheer 
and then became quite quiet, though for a 
little while some of them seemed somewhat 



34 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

indignant that anything could be styled on* 
English with impunity. Several men remained 
on their feet to ask questions. Selecting a 
florid-faced irascible looking man with a red clipped 
beard, I asked him what he wanted to know. My 
nationality, he said. So I told him. Then I began 
to speak. I said we had all the same interests at 
heart — the good of the Empire — and that the prob- 
lem I wished to discuss with them was ** How are we 
going to save South Africa for the Empire ? '* This 
evoked a cheer, which was followed by dead silence. 
It was not quite what the Imperialists had expected. 
Proceeding, I said we might not all agree as to what 
were the best means for securing the good of the 
Empire, but that no one could surpass me in admira- 
tion for men who were prepared to sacrifice their 
lives for what they conceived to be their duty. I 
then called for three cheers for the soldiers, which 
were vociferously given, though it was clear that the 
Imperialists were hit between wind and water. 
Then I called for three cheers for the Queen, which» 
having been given, I stood still while the whole hall 
lapsed into a startled silence ; in the midst of which 
I said ** Let us now consider whether these brave mea 
are fighting in a cause and giving their lives for an 
end which will be beneficial to the Empire ? " I now 
had command of the audience, which I retained by 
means of some good-natured sparring; until I pro* 
(»eded to show that the Raid and its oondonatioa 
were largely responsible for the war, when the ultra- 
rowdies, having a point upon whidi they could com- 
bine to interrupt, and, excited by tiie cheers from the 
large crowd outside, which at this moment rang* 
through the hall, began to be a bit restive, but were 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 35 

steadied somewhat by my remaric that I was surprised 
that those who were clamouring for freedom of speech 
for aliens in a foreign and distant country should 
deny it to one of their own fellow subjects in their 
own country. The Chairman, however, with the best 
intentions, thinking, no doubt, that vigorous measures 
would now answer with the most prominent of the 
rowdies, as the audience was not so much excited 
as formerly, rose and said he would have these men 
put out by the police if they were not quiet at once. 
This caused an uproar. It was just the opportunity 
the rowdies had been waiting for. The Chairman 
thereupon called upon the police to remove one of 
the men, when the long pent up storm found vent 
All the Imperialists rose to their feet amidst the 
wildest shouting. A policeman made a move towards 
the man indicated by the Chairman, which increased 
the din. I motioned to the policeman to leave the 
man alone. This served to lessen the noise, but it 
was stiU overwhelming, and the people were becoming 
much exdted. Mr. Famworth and some other more 
manly opponents of the meeting tried to procure 
silence, but unsuccessfully. At last Mr. Famworth 
came forward, and standing on the floor below the 
platform beckoned to me amidst the din. I leant 
down to hear him, ^ They won't have the diairman,^ 
he said; ''if you have another chairman, the/U 
listen to you!* I, of course, replied that I could be 
no party to deposing the Chairman. Whereupon he 
mounted a chair, and, turning to the audience, waved 
his hand until something like silence had been se- 
cured, when, shouting at the top of his voice, he 
cried, ** If you have another chairman, will you listen 
ta Mr. Schreiner ? ** A tremendous " Yes "* went up. 

Da 



36 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Naturally the Chaini),an was much angered He had 
a voice which, in the earlier part of the evening, he 
said twenty thousand men had heard in the market 
place. I can believe it, for amidst that awful din he 
threw out his bold defiance to the mob, deliberately, 
with a slight pause after each word — "There— is — '■ 
not — agoing — to — ^be-^another — chairman — ^to-night I" 
in a voice whose magnificent strength I listened to 
with admiration and envy. That was the end of 
things. The back part of the audience was already 
on its feet, in a most excited state. A piece of wood 
was thrown at the Chairman and other missiles began 
to arrive in our direction. Himdreds of flags, hitherto 
concealed, sprang forth into the heated air : the back 
part of the hall was simply a mass of flags and hurl- 
ing arms and open mouths, while the noise was deaf- 
ening. Whenever there was a momentary lull, there 
came an answering roar from the crowd putside. 
After shouting and cheering for some time they 
settled down into howling the chorus of " Soldiers of 
the Queen," stamping time with their feet and mark- 
ing time with their heads and the flags, backed up by 
the shouts of the brother Imperialists in the street 
It being clear that there would be no more order that 
night, I remarked, with such distinctness as I could, 
that I would address myself to a larger audience, and, 
taking a chair, seated myself within a couple of feet 
of the reporters, and addressed my remarks to them. 
But the noise was so great that even at that short 
distance I could not make myself heard, so we retired 
to a back room, where I completed what I had to 
say. 

While I was addressing the reporters on the plat- 
form, the Chairman put the resolution condemning 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 37 

the war, amidst the utmost confusion and excitement. 
Following this, a vain attempt to move a hostile 
amendment was drowned in chaotic confusion and 
distturbance. The Daily Post account of what hap- 
pened then is as follows: — 

^The result was not declared, the Chairman an- 
nouncing that the meeting was at an end. The 
audience showed no disposition to disperse, and con- 
tinued singing and creating general disorder. Those 
in sympathy with the promoters of the meeting 
quietly left the hall, but the police were powerless in 
their efforts to induce the others to do so. Long 
after the Chairman had declared the meeting at an 
end, excited groups of the " opposition " remained in 
the room, and, on more than one occasion, endea- 
voured to take possession of the platform. This 
would have been effected, but for the tact shown by 
Superintendent Hawkins, who recalled half-a-dozen 
policemen from other parts of the building, and sta- 
tioned them across the raised portion of the hall, at the 
same time announcing that any attempt would re- 
sult disastrously to those who made it This had 
a quieting effect, and soon after the police — who had 
acted admirably throughout the proceedings — suc- 
ceeded by a little persuaision to clear the building." 

The crowd outside, which had now swollen to con- 
siderable dimensions, and which was composed largely 
•of young men of from about sixteen to twenty years 
and well-to-do men, the better type of working men 
being mostly absent, had amused itself in a noisy 
way. At one time an Italian organ grinder came 
along decked with ribbons and a war badge. The 
mob rushed towards him and brought him in front of 
the hall, where a well known business man gave him 



/ 



38 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

a shilling to play national airs! To show how little 
some of them knew what they were doing, some ode» 
after the speakers at the meeting had been lustily 
groaned and hooted, and Buller and other generals 
cheered, called for ^ three cheers for Schreiner/'* and 
the mob, thinking; no doubt, that I was another 
general, responded lustily. This recalls the incident 
of the working woman (which occurred while I was 
in England) who had her infant christened "Joo* 
bert," under the impression that Joubert was one of 
the English generals. The mob finally dispersed to 
the nearest public houses, after carrying a resolution 
on the market square ^protesting'' against the 
" craven spirit '* of the anti-war people, and " urging " 
the Government "to prosecute their efforts till the 
last Boer has been hurled across the border of British 
territory and the British flag waves triumphantly at 
Pretoria.** 

Later the ** Imperialist Liberals " of Leicester tried 
to organise a meeting in the Waterloo Hall to suppoit 
the war policy of the Government Large posters 
were put up stating that admission was to be by 
ticket only, which were to be obtained only on appli* 
cation in writing to Mr. Famworth or to Mr. Sowtar. 
I give a copy of the refined ticket issued by these 
" Imperialist Liberals.'* 

It will be observed that the elegant production was 
copyrighted! It will show the depths of the Impe- 
rialist spirit I am informed that the meeting was a 
dead failure, only about twenty people attending. 

* The mob shonted my name " Skreener,*' and presamabl 
did not recognise it— >i£ they heard it, as no doubt many di 
not— when pronounced ** Sclireiner." 



iD 



1 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 39 

On the other hand, the Leicester Peace Committee 
continued its work with ever increasing success. 
Leicester seems to me to contain as ardent a body 
of advanced Peace people as any town in Great 
Britain. 



CHAPTER V. 

oxford, 2 1 st and 22nd; cambridge, 27th of 

february. 

Oxford. 

On my voyage to England in the "Norman" 
I met Mr. E. R. Bennett, Fellow of Hertford 
College, Oxford, who asked me to come and stay 
a few days with him at his College. As Mr. Hobson 
had to give a lecture at Oxford on the 21st of Feb- 
ruary my visit was arranged for that day and tHe 
next My room at Hertford College was, strange to 
say, that of a man who had gone out to the war in 
South Africa. 

On the evening of the 21st a meeting of the 
University Branch of the Fabian Society was held at 
the house of the Master of St John's, when Mr. 
Hobson delivered an address on ''Capitalism in 
South Africa,** showing especially how the Press had 
been bought by a gang of financiers. Then I spoke 
and answered many questions. There was a little 
pleasant sparring whidi caused some amusement, es- 
pecially when one of the undergraduates, driven into 
a comer, said he was not much concerned with the 
moral aspect of the questioa Mr. Ensor, President 
of the Union, proposed a vote of thanks in a very 
happy manner. 

In the afternoon of the next day Mr. Hobson and 
I addressed a meeting of the Dons and their wives 
and others in the HaU at Balliol College, Professor 

( 40 ) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 41 

Caird, Master of Balliol, in the chair. I dwelt almost 
wholly on the Native Question. A large number of 
questions were asked. The most interesting and 
significant episode of the afternoon occurred when a 
young clergyman, a supporter of the war, began to 
question me about the Transvaal franchise. When I 
asked him what the naturalisation law of Great 
Britain was, he did not know, and shuffled in an un- 
dignified manner to avoid confessing his ignorance. 
As he did not know the Transvaal law either, he was 
wholly ignorant on a matter about which he had 
formed a decided opinion, a matter involving the 
life and death of thousands. As a matter of fact, I 
did not meet half-a-dozen people outside the front 
rank in public life who knew what the British law of 
naturalisation was, and not many more who knew the 
details of the Transvaal law. But it was very notice- 
able how much better informed on the whole question 
of the relations between Great Britain and the 
Republic the anti-war people were than the Imperialist 
party. 

On my return from a visit to some of the Colleges 
late in the afternoon, I found a postcard awaiting me. 
It bore the imprint of the Union and its characters 
were written in printed form. In not very correct 
English it warned me to leave Oxford at once, or 
else I should be shot One can imagine this brave 
yoath carefully disguising his handwriting, furtively 
posting the card, and then, in terror, bolting round 
the comer, lest he should be seen. No doubt he calls 
himself an Imperialist 

While at Oxford I was asked by one of the Felbws 
whether I believed Sir Alfred Mihier had said to Mr. 
James Molteno that he was determined to " break the 



42 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

dominion of Afrikanderdom.*' I answered in the 
affirmative, and gave my reasons, which were quite 
conclusive to my questioner. Mr. Molteno was de* 
puted by his party to wait upon Sir Alfred Milner. 
In the course of the conversation that ensued, Sir 
Alfred Milner used the expression. Mr. Molteno 
reported his interview to his party, repeating the 
exptesAoa to them. Moreover, he at once made a 
note of the conversation ; in that note the expression 
occurs. Mr. Molteno told me these facts himself, and 
he further said to me that, as a barrister, the use 
of the word dominion (dominium^ and the play upon 
the doffi'dom {dommion of Af rikander^^m) struck 
him forcibly. Mr. Molteno is perfectly certain of 
the expression, and I personally am satisfied that he 
is right 

I was asked if I would speak at the Oxford Union, 
and would gladly have done so, but dates did not fit 
It was a great disappointment I left Oxford on the 
morning of the 23rd. 

The remarks of two other Oxford men on Sir 
Alfred Milner are worth recording. They both speak 
with intimate knowledge of him, and when he was 
sent to South Africa both thought his appointment 
an excellent one. Both now condemn his policy. The 
first, accounting for his violent partisanship, said it 
was explainable on his idea of loyalty. Milner, he 
said, was a man of strict personal integrity, but, when 
he espoused the cause of a person or party, he identi- 
fied himself with that party so absolutely that he 
would have nothing to do with other persons or par- 
ties who opposed it, considering that disloyaL So he 
spumed the Dutch, because they were opposed to the 
political party with which he had identified himself ; 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 43 



lie could see nothii^ good in them and would have 
nothing to do with them. This kind of *' loyalty/' 
this Oxford man agreed, absolutely disqualified Milner 
for his present post; which should have a man above 
party spirit, balanced and just It accounted, he said, 
fully for Milner's egrq[ious failure. 

The other Oxford man, after summii]^ Milner up 
^wkh a v^ur and acumen that was delightful, said a 
-very brilliant and veiy true thing : '^ Franklin said he 
had a short code of rules for breaking an Empire ; 
but I have a shorter — * Send Milner 1 ' He is destroy- 
ing our Empire in South Africa ; when he has finished 
•there, send him to Canada, and he'll soon have the 
French and English at one another's throats. Then 
ssend him to Australia— and, lo, our Empire is gonet 
3iilner will do it if we will only use himu" 

Cambridge. 

On Sunday, the 35th of Februaiy, Dr. and Mrs. 
R. D. Roberts called on me in London. In the 
Htxmrse of our conversation, the Doctor mentioned that 
there was to be a debate on South Africa in the 
Cambridge Union on Tuesday evening; and asked me 
whether I would go down if the Union invited me to 
:8peak I gladly consented I was anxious to see 
Cambridge, and highly prized the opportunity of 
.-speaking to the undergraduates. About twenty years 
ago I was on the eve of going over from South Africa 
;to study law at Cambridge. 

On Monday I received a wire from Mr. Pigoo, 
^President of the Union, inviting me to speak. I 
.reached Cambridge in time for dinner on Tuesday 
•evening. It was a rainy night ; but, as we drove up 
to the Union, Dr. Roberts pointed out Darwin's Col* 



44 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

l^e and one or two others. I was introduced to the 
President and Vice-President of the Union and seve- 
ral others, and immediately entered the debating halL 
The Union was packed, even the gallery containing a 
considerable number, including many ladies, and the 
greatest interest was manifested 

The subject for debate was, ^ That in the opinion; 
of this House the present war must result in the* 
annexation of the Transvaal and the Orange Free 
State by Great Britain." This was proposed by Mr. 
E. S. Montagu, of Trinity College Those for the- 
motion sat on the President's r^ht, those against on 
his left I was deeply interested as I watched the 
crowd of young men, some of whom would certainly 
before long take an active, perhaps prominent, part in 
the public afiEairs of the Kingdom. Mr. Montagu 
opened with a balanced and, at times, telling speech^ 
delivered in quite Parliamentary style. But, good as- 
he certainly was, he was quite eclipsed by Mr. G. C. 
Rankin, also of Trinity College, who led the opposi* 
tion, and delivered a speech very good in itself, and 
remarkably good for a young man. He started hy 
criticising the slipshod wording of the resolution, and 
then after some hot criticism of Mr. Montagu's argu* 
ments, which he tore to shreds, plunged into his own 
line of argument, showing a fine power of arrangement 
and selection, with a picturesque mode of expression. 
Tackling Mr. Montagu's statement that he was not 
concerned with the moral aspect of the case, he be- 
came eloquent His argument kept a high levef 
throughout, and he made a remaricable impression. 
When I spoke, as I did in seconding Mr. Rankin in 
his opposition to annexation, I set myself simply to* 
put a plain statement of the South African situation 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 45 

as I saw it, asa man to mea My statement of things 
.^ they were led to some pleasant sparring and some 
<^eering from our side, as I took the interruptors up. 
I remember one obvious retort, which, however, was a 
most palpable hit, leading to great laughter and 
cheering &om our side, and considerable confusion 
on the other. One of the other side interrupted me 
while I was speaking of Johannesburg to ask 
pointedly if tbcr6 was not corruption there. I replied 
that there undoubtedly was, but that there were two 
parties to corruption, the corruptor and the corrupted, 
that the corruptor was the worst of the two, and that 
in this case the corruptor happened to be the Out^ 
lander. But I did not really get hold of the audience 
tmtil I spoke of the Dutchman's love for his little 
tiag and his little country. That appealed to the 
manly sentiment which is always in the heart of young 
men if you can but once get their attention. They 
responded like the men they were. After I sat down, 
Mr. Van Zyl, an Afrikander, came and introduced 
himself. He said the undergrads were good fel- 
lows, but that the ignorance that prevailed on South 
African afiFairs was terrible. Dutchman — ^"Boer" — 
though Mr. Van Zyl is, the Cambridge men soon after 
elected him Vice-President of the Union* I could 
not stay to the end of the debate, but had to leave 
before the speaker who succeeded me had finished. 
As I was putting on my coat in the ante-room, several 
of the men came to shake hands, among them the 
Vice-President, who, with a hearty grip, said ** Thank 
you; you have converted me and many others." 

Very few things in England pleased me more than 

, ■ 

* He has, I belierei since been elected President. 



46 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

this meeting of the Cambridge Union. Very feir 
things that oocurred in the public life of England 
while I was there were so oeditable as the. result of 
the voting at this meeting. The voting (I speak 
from memory) was a majority for the motion of only 
seventeen out of one hundred and eighty-six recorded** 
When one remembers that the war was m prc^;ress» 
that Spion Kop was fresh rankling in the heart of the 
nation, that these were all young men, the voting is a 
most eloquent tribute to the manly and liberal spirit 
of Cambridge. It compares weU with the conduct of 
the Edinburgh students a few days later 

Next morning, after an early breakfast, I left for 
Bradford, where I was due to speak that evening. 







1 • 



2 i, >^J^^-'••* I 



I 

r, 



>. 






CHAPTER VI. 

BRADFOitD, 38TH OF FEBRUARY; PUDSEY, 

2ND OF BiARCH. 

Bradford. 

I arrived in Bradford on the afternoon of the 
38th of February. While there I stayed with Mr. and 
Mrs. W. P. Byles, at their residence, " Oakfield." Mrs. 
Byles, who has done yeoman work for South Africa, 
is one of the most eloquent women public speakers I 
have heard I was unwell when I reached Bradford, 
with a cough and sore throat, which interfered with 
my voice and took the steam out of me. 

The meeting, organised by the Bradford Branch of 
the South African Conciliation Conmiittee, was a 
ticket meeting and was held that evening in die Tem- 
perance HalL The hall was crowded in every part, 
floor and gallery, with a most enthusiastic and keen 
audience. Mr. Byles was in the chain Mr. Hobson 
and I both spoke. I devoted the first part of my 
speech to the Native Question, showing the backward 
trend of legislation since the mining financier became 
powerful, and then passed on to the general 
capitalist phase of the problem. I pointed out 
how grave was the danger of England's losing 
South Africa if she persisted in her present 
policy; and concluded by advocating what I 
consistently advocated on every opportunity I 
had, that England should keep complete control 
of the external relations of the republics, not allow 

( 47 ) 



48 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

them any big guns or forts, fix a five years' retrospec- 
tive franchise, place a British Resident at each capital, 
and then leave them alone. The Bradford Ob- 
server^ one of the few papers that kept its head on 
South African matters, in an excellent sub-leader said 
this was all " in accord with the leading principles of 
Liberalism." It is to be observed that what I sincerely 
advocated was actually more than the war party said 
they wanted This will show how utterly infamous 
was the mobbing to which I was to be subjected 
within a few days. At this Bradford meeting, how- 
ever, there was no disturbance, and no mob collected 
outside. 

In the afternoon of the next day a large number of 
people, at Mrs. Byles's invitation, came up to Oak- 
field, and a great many questions were asked. I 
found people very keen on the native question. 

I was to have gone over to Adel Grange, near 
X^eds, to spend a day or two with the Misses Ford, 
strenuous friends of South Africa in her trouble, but 
was too unwelL Mrs. Byles was good enough to ask 
me to make Oakfield my home until I went north, so 
I remained there until Monday morning, the 5th of 
March, keeping indoors over a fire most of the time. 
This enabled me to recover somewhat; otherwise I 
believe I should have had to abandon my tour on the 
spot 

In the cotirse of our conversations Mr. Byles dis- 
covered that I had written the text book* upon the 
Angora Goat and the growth of the Mohair Industry. 
Bradford, as all the world knows, is the chief seat of 



* ^ The Angora Goat, axid a paper on the Ostrich.* 
London: Longmans and Co. 1897. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 49 

the textile industries of the world It was a pleasure 
to fall in with Mr. Byles's suggestion that I should 
give the Observer an interview on the matter. So over 
a big fire one afternoon in his comfortable study a 
representative of the paper had a talk with me, from 
which he wrote up an article. 

As bearing through me on the poUtics of the day» 
the interview attracted some little attention, and was 
made the subject for sundry ponderous newspaper 
jokes, of which I remember two. An Imperialist 
paper said that my being an authority on Angora 
goats accounted for my acting the "giddy quad- 
ruped." On the other hand, a friendly paper said my 
familiarity with goats accounted for the imperturbable 
manner with which I met and endured the bleatings 
of the Jingo mobs. 

On Sunday, the 4th of March, I went to see the 
village of Saltaire, close to Bradford. This village 
was built by Sir Titus Salt for his mill hands. He was 
the father of the mohair industry of Bradford, and 
was intimately associated with the introduction of the 
Angora goat into the Cape Colony. From one point 
of the road I could see the hill behind which lay 
Haworth, that Yorkshire village which gave to the 
world Emily Bronte, perhaps the greatest woman 
genius the British race has ever produced. She died 
unknown, unappreciated; even Charlotte did not 
recognise her great genius; but she is among the 
immortals. 

One day Mr. Hobson and I had lunch with Mr. 
Byles at the Liberal Club. At this Club, a small num- 
ber of men, who have banded themselves together 
for the purpose, meet together after lunch for a cigar 
and a chat They have a chairman, and a rough code 



50 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

of rules. We were asked to meet this Club. I was 
struck then, as I was struck so many times before and 
after, with the extraordinary lack of information on 
South African matters among otherwise well-informed 
men, and the amount of dogmatising which accom- 
panied such lack of knowledge and their unwilling- 
ness to learn. Such was their ignorance and unwilling- 
ness to learn that they knew nothing of matters which 
they might have got from the Blue Books ; none of 
these men, for instance, were acquainted with the 
terms of the 1881 and 1884 Conventions. More and 
more did it come home to me how wrong and unjust 
to us it was that these distant people should have any- 
thing whatever to say with regard to the internal 
affairs of South Africa, even in the Cape Colony. All 
England's mistakes were fully accounted for. Gradu- 
ally but surely I began to see that Imperialism was 
but finance in politics, using ignorance and narrow 
race bias as instruments towards the attainment of 
its sordid ends, and that Federation should be our 
aim, with each of the Colonies as independent inter- 
nally as England herself. 

PUDSEY. 

Pudsey is a town of some 18,000 people, between 
Bradford and Leeds, a small tmkaown town in 
England, but more populous than any town in South 
Africa, except Johannesburg, Cape Town, Pretoria,. 
Port Elizabeth, and Kimberley. The poptilation of 
Pudsey, together with that of Bradford, is just about 
equal to that of the two little South African Republics- 
which an Empire of 40,000,000 whites, with command 
of the sea, enormous wealth, and unlimited weapons 
and ammunition, has to put forth all its strength to^ 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 51 

defeat What stand would the people of Pudsey and 
Bradford be able to make against the Empire ? 

At the close of the Bradford meeting, a gentleman 
came up and asked me to come and speak at Pudsey. 
This gentleman was, I found, Coimcillor Edward R. 
Hartley. A meeting had already been arranged for 
Friday evening, he said, and if I would come he would 
advertise the fact at once. I agreed, and the adver- 
tisement duly appeal^ in the local paper of the 2nd 
of March. On die evening of that day, Mr. Byles and 
I went over. Mr. Hartley had, I found, made a gallant 
stand against the war, much to his financial loss. Like 
nearly all the staunchest people, I found him well 
informed on the matter, unselfish in his views, quiet 
and cheery in his demeanour, but resolute on his 
course, at whatever cost and inconvenience to himself 
— ^the type of man that is the strength of a natioa 

The meeting, which was held in the Victoria Hall, 
was under the auspices of the Leeds branch of the 
South African Conciliation Committee. Mr. Alfred 
Pickles, a member of the Pudsey School Board, was 
in the chair, and on the platform were Mr. Byles, the 
Rev. G. Watt Smith, Mr. E. R Hartley, Mr. J. Walker, 
and myself. The Chairman was addressing the meet- 
ing when we arrived ; the hall was about one-third 
full, the audience composed mostly of working-men. 
Mr. Hartley proposed the following resolution : — 

" That we deplore the diplomacy which led to the 
war in South Africa, and urge the Govenmient of this 
country to take the first possible opportunity of pro- 
ducing honourable terms of settlement with the South 
African Republic so as to end a conflict which has 
been the cause of so much bloodshed" 

This was seconded by Mr. Byles, and supported. 

B2 



52 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

All the speakers denounced the war as a capitalists' 
war, making some excellent points, especially with 
regard to the franchise. 

Meanwhile people had been gradually coming into 
the hall, until when I rose to speak it was about half 
full, nearly all the audience being at the back, some 
standing against the wall I was so unfit, and my voice 
so weak that, although the hall was a small one, I had 
to ask the audience to come to Ae front seats. There 
was no disturbance during my speech, which, after 
refuting certain misstatements and misconceptions 
with regard to the South African Republic, was de- 
voted to showing that the capitalist forces had 
brought about the war by which they alone stood to 
profit and everyone else to suffer. 

As soon as I had finished, a number of men rose to 
ask questions, and th^ Chairman gave the first chance 
to an old grey-headed gentleman named Hinchcliffe, 
who had been a bit obstreperous during my speech. 
Mr. Hinchcliffe, who was in a very excited state and 
very ill-informed, as most Imperialists are on the 
South African question, was soon so beaten at ques- 
tion and answer, and so angered at being beaten, that 
he lost control of himself. Standing up thoroughly 
beaten he tried in vain for a little while to utter some 
articulate words; then, in despair, he ran one hand 
throi:^h his grey hair, and, gesticulating wildly with 
the other, cried out : " I want war ! I want war ! " 
This ** man in buckram " was only 6,000 miles from 
the seat of war and danger. Before he sat down, he 
so far forgot himself as to call me a " Boer," and to 
ask whether I was not a paid Boer agent, which 
created a slight momentary disturbance, in the midst 
of which some one was heard to call Mr. Hinchcliffe 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 53 

"3, damned sneak." However, recognising Ihat one 
has to be very long-suffering with Imperialists, I 
answered both questions fully. Another Imperialist 
asked whether it was not true that the teaching of 
English was absolutely prohibited in the South 
African Republic in both public and private schools. 
When I told him the simple truth — that there was not 
only no restriction whatever upon the teaching of 
English in private schools, but that in a number of 
Government schools English was not only taught 
but was even the sole medium of education — ^he glared 
at me savagely and said he did not beCeve it A 
large number of questions were asked, and as cham- 
pion after champion went down the Imperialist section 
did not like it; they saw the meeting was going 
against them, notwithstanding the fact that more 
people had gradually come in. Soon I noticed some 
half-dozen or so of them go out, and presently return 
with quite a crowd which looked like the sweepings 
of the bars — stalwart Imperialists, every one of them 
— some evidently having their Imperialist leanings 
fortified by sundry potations of the national beverage. 
They stood thick and hot at the back, foremost among 
them being a young Wesleyan minister named J. 
Ellis. Forcing his way through their angry ranks, 
this Imperialist champion entered the lists, much to 
my delight I knew what was going to happen, having 
met a good many of his stamp of Reverends in 
England. I knew quite well he would make an exhi- 
bition of himself, but I little expected the dramatic 
incident that followed. After a series of questions 
which showed the expected ignorance on his part, he 
got on to the matter of the franchise. By this time 
he was getting warm, for he had not made a point 



54 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

And now I had him on the hip. I first proved that he 
knew nothing whatever about the naturalisation and 
franchise law of the Republic, which caused much 
merriment among our supporters, and anger on his 
part, with ominous growls from his backers. Then I 
carried the war into his own camp, and, to the huge 
delight of our party and to the rage and consternation 
of himself and the other Imperialists, I elicited the 
fact that he had no vote. His last position was 
stormed when I showed that he did not even know the 
law of his own cotmtry. He was greatly taken aback 
when I asked him whether he had a vote. He replied 
desperately that he had not, and then, losing his head 
for a moment, added that neither had many of his 
brother ministers. How is that ? I asked. It was, he 
said, because they were being constantly moved 
about* That could not happen under the Transvaal 
law, I replied. What is the law ? he asked I told him» 
after remarking upon his lack of knowledge. " Now," 

* The Franchise (as apart from the Naturalisation) Law 
of Great Britain is that a man must register himself, and 
then reside two consecutive ists of July in the district where 
he is registered before he can vote. If he leaves that dis- 
trict he loses his vote, becomes disenfranchised, and can 
only enfranchise himself again by registering himself in 
the new district where he has gone to reside, and then by re- 
siding there for two consecutive ists of July. This law 
^most perpetually disfranchises people who are constantly 
changine tneir place of residence, such as Wesleyan minis- 
ters, and particularly working-men. With regard to which 
it should be added that before a naturalised subject can be- 
come a member of Parliament in Great Britain, a special 
law mnst, I believe, be passed through Parliament permit* 
ting it. No such law was required in the Republic ; as soon 
as a man was naturalised and enfranchised lie at once be* 
came a full burgher, with a right to enter the Raad, or 
even to stand tor the Presidency and fill that post tf 
elected. 



; 



i 






Mrs. RLTH NORMINGTON 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 55 

I said, "What is the Naturalisation and Franchise 
Law of Great Britain ? '' He was completely beaten. 
He simply did not know, but he had not the manhood 
to own up. Something of an uproar ensued, during 
which Mr. ElUs leant back among those who stood 
round him, evidently trying to learn hurriedly what 
the law was. At this moment Mr. Coldwell Birdsall 
rose and asked : " Did Mr. Schreiner ever see so much 
ignorance displayed by the Boers in the Transvaal as 
has been displayed at this meeting?" — a question 
to which I did not reply, though, like the famous 
parrot, if I did not say much I thought a good deal 

The uproar grew louder, the Imperialists being very 
angry at the defeat of their champion, while the Rev. 
Mr. Ellis, very red in the face, was trying amidst the 
din to utter some wretdied and evasive platitude about 
minorities and majorities, when one of the most 
dramatic scenes that I saw in all my experience in 
Great Britain occurred The hall was now full of 
men, most of them noisy, and many of them angry. 
They were on the whole a pretty rough lot, too, es- 
pedally the pot-house supporters of the Rev. J. Effis, 
whom he had roused more than anyone else. In all 
this crowded hall there was only one woman : I had 
marked her. She sat about one-third of the way down 
on the right of the Chairman — a small, slight woman, 
with an earnest, bright face, quite young-looking. She 
was dressed in black, and leant on a walking-stick as 
she intently watched the proceedings. When the Rev. 
Mr. ElUs was making such an exhibition of himself, 
this lady quietly arose, and stood leaning on her stick. 
Her voice could not be heard at first, and there arose 
criesof "Order!"^Chair!"; shouts of " Sit down I '• 
and similar remarks. But the tumult gradually sub- 



56 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

sided until her voice could be heard. She was nervous^ 
and leant heavily on her stick, and her voice trembled 
somewhat But she stood dauntlessly firm, and in a 
low, tremulous voice, which was, however, quite clear 
and distinct, she addressed the chair, looking steadily 
at the Rev. Mr. Ellis. Her gentle voice swept the 
hall like the sacred thing it was, and soon there was 
an awed silence where but a few minutes before wild 
voices and stormy passion had run riot. It was the 
" still small voice "—the only sound in a silence that 
could be felt She said she was sorry to see a man 
of his sacred profession acting so untruly to his 
calling; Mr. Schreiner had appealed to their better 
feelings, but some present she was afraid had none, 
or else they were so worked up that they could not 
listen to an appeal to what was best in them ; some* 
tiling better, however, was to be expected from a gen- 
tleman of Mr. EUis's calling. The room listened, and 
gazed on Mr. Ellis with an almost startled air, while 
Mr. Ellis himself stood aghast Then» addressing Mr. 
Ellis personally in the same low, tremulous voice, she 
said (I remember the exact words almost) : " Nineteen 
hundred years ago there came One on this earth who 
was called the Prince of Peace, who taught us to love 
one another. You are a professed follower of that 
One, but what are you doing ? Are you teaching what 
He taught? Is it becoming in one of his professed 
followers to come here this evening, when what is 
best in those present has been appealed to, and appeal 
to what is worst in them? Is it fitting that a fol- 
lower of the Peace Teacher of nineteen hundred years 
ago should come and urge people to war?" Her 
voice, though still low, had taken on a ring that thrilled 
the audience and withered the minister. Pausing for 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 57 

a moment, she continued : " What would your great 
master, John Wesley, have said? Would he have 
acted thus ? " Then she repeated the words : — 

*' It came upon the midnight clear 
That glorious song of old.'' 

— when some cad shouted " Shut up I '* Looking in 
the direction from which the rude interruption came» 
she said, gently : " I beg pardon. Perhaps I am not 
speaking loud enough " ; and, in the midst of the most 
impressive silence, she proceeded: — 

" It came upon the midnight clear 

That glorious song c^ old ; 
From angels bending near the earth 

To touch their harps of gold ; 
Peace on the earth, goodwill to men 

From Heaven's all-gracious King; 
The world in solemn stillness lay 

To hear the angels sing." 

The stir in the neighbourhood of the Rev. Mr. Ellis 
had now quite subsided. The majority of those present 
felt they had been lifted into another atmosphere, and 
it was clear that even the roughest felt somewhat 
sobered for the moment The lady then turned to 
Mr. Ellis for the last time, and, still leaning on her 
stick, said: "It is not becoming in a follower of the 
meek and lowly Jesus to act as you have acted It 
would be far more in keeping mth the profession of 
a follower of the great Peace Teacher to preach peace 
in times of war as well as in times of peace/' Then 
she resumed her seat There was silence for a few 
moments, and then cheers and applause burst forth 
as the people realised her courage and her fine effort. 
This was succeeded by uproar as the Imperialists 



.t. -• 



58 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

found tongue agaia The Rev. Mr. EUis, looking 
thoroughly contemptible, shouted some half-dozen 
defiant words, but never did a man wince more under 
his well-merited castigation. 

The resolution was put to the vote, and declared 
lost, though feeling was apparently very evenly 
balanced, said the local News. It was lost by only a 
few votes, and that because the Imperialists, seeing 
the meeting was going against themi went and 
whipped up votes in the streets. The result, consider- 
ing the state of feeling and the fact that the meeting 
^was public, was most creditable to Pudsey. The local 
Advertiser says that although it was about 10.45 when 
the meeting broke up, a number of groups gathered 
in the street outside and carried on animated discus* 
sions. But Mr. Byles and I had to leave to catch our 
train back to Bradford just after the conclusion of the 
lad/s speech, and did not see the end. 

At the station we found the lady going By the same 
train, and I had the honour of being introduced to her. 
She was a Mrs. Normington, and she and Her husband 
had recently become Socialists. 

What shall be said of Mrs. Normington ? When I 
told Mrs. Byles of the beautiful incident, " God bless 
her,'' she said, '' God bless her." That, I think, is what 
many thousands will yet say. 

On Monday morning early, the 5th of March, I 
took train to Burnley. Later I was asked to speak 
there, but was unable to do so. From Burnley I went 
to " Stockbridge House," Padiham, the home of Dr. 
ai^d Mrs. John Brown, old South Africans. In the 
afternoon several people interested in South Africa 
came in, among them one of the mill-hand girls, who 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 59 

a little while hsxk had given Mrs. Brown, with 
tears in her eyes, twenty shillings (a week's 
wages) to send out to the Boers. It was interesting to 
see at Burnley the women wearing shawls instead of 
hats over their heads, and the wooden-soled boots that 
clattered loudly on the pavements. Stodcbridge House 
is a most interesting old building. When Dr. Brown 
took it some of its windows were stiU built up from 
the time when this had been done to escape the win- 
dow tax. 

Among several disgraceful affairs that occurred in 
Bradford and the neighbourhood, that of Brighouse 
deserves mention. The local branch of the Indepen- 
dent Labour Party arranged for an open-air meeting 
in the Borough Market on Tuesday, 29th May, not to 
protest against the South African War, but solely 
against the spirit of Imperialism and Militarism which 
was being encouraged throughout the country by the 
Government Councillor D. Hardaker was in the 
chair, other principal men being the Rev. R. Roberts, 
Mr. John Lister, Mr. S. Hemsley, Mr. B. Riley and 
Mr. C. A Pease. During the speaking there was the 
tisual rowdyism, shouting, singing, and cheering ; but 
before the meeting was abandoned (as it had to be 
eventually) the speakers were assaulted with offensive 
and dangerous missiles^ such as rotten oranges and 
lemons, dirt, dead birds, fish-heads, r:^, sods, a couple 
of dead cats, and filthy rubbish of various kinds. 
When the meeting was abandoned (it had become a 
very large one, and quite uncontrollable) a violent mob 
followed the speakers, but just at this moment the 
police inspector, a sergeant, and several constables 
appeared and ordered the rabble to desist This had 



6o THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

a slight calming effect for the moment, but the mob 
soon raged on agaia At the bottom of CHtirch Street 
the poUce formed up across the entrance to the street^ 
and Mr. Riley, Mr. Pease, and some others passed 
through and escaped, the police preventing the mob 
from following them. These gentlemen reached the 
Labour Club, which was for some time guarded by 
the police. Mr. Lister, Mr. Hardaker, and Mr. Hems- 
ley for some reason did not make for the Club, but 
went forward along Halifax Road, followed by a large 
and furious and brutal mob. 

The Brighouse News of the ist of June gives an 
account of what then occurred, from which I extract 
the following:— 

" Up the hill with their escort went the peace men> 
and sods and other missiles were freely thrown. Now 
and then, whenever possible, a kick was administered 
from behind, and the men were anticipating a very 
rough time of it 

"These expectations were realised, as there 
were three or four pt^acious individuals in 
front who were cowardly and brutal enough 
to kick and strike whenever they imagined 
themselves to be safe from retaliatioa At 
Land Head Mr. Lister received a severe kick, and 
turning round quickly he struck out straight from the 
shoulder, hitting Kis cowardly opponent squarely in 
the face, and knocking him down. This incident was 
the signal for an outburst of rough play which might 
have ended very seriously indeed for the proprietor 
of Shibden Hall (Mr. Lister), as he was knocked 
down, kicked, trodden, and rolled about on the road. 
Fortunately, he regained his feet, and proceeded on 
his way. At the top of Halifax Road, Mr. Lister and 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 6i 

his friends turned down Garden Road in order to 
avoid the crowd, but this move proved unsuccessful, 
as the mob followed, and dragging sods from the sides 
of the walls freely threw them at the three men. Mr. 
Hemsley (from Bradford) proved to be somewhat 
short-tempered, and probably his frequent retaliation 
made matters worse for all three. Blackburn Road 
and Ganny Hall Lane were tried as being sheltered 
places, but here also was a superabundance of sods ; 
and Halifax Road was gained once more at Slead 
Syke, the party going towards Hove Edge. 

" Here the parties divided, as Mr. Lister went for- 
ward, accompanied by the smaller section of the howl- 
ers, and Messrs. Hardaker and Hemsley turned down 
past the Post OiSice towards Suimy Vale Gardens, 
but just before parting Mr. Lister received such a 
terrific blow upon the side of the face from 
a heavy sod that he was sent staggering right 
across the road in a half-dazed condition. At 
the left-hand side of the lane to Sunny Vale 
is a deep drop of several feet, and the cry arose, 
* Chuck 'em overl " Mr. Hemsley was lifted high 
above the heads of the infuriated mob, but fortunately 
better counsels prevailed, and he was allowed to re- 
gain his feet. Mr. Hardaker, exhausted, leaned against 
a wall in order to regain his breath, and the sod- 
flingers evidently expected a speech, and, dropping 
their missiles, suddenly evinced a desire to give the 
man a fair hearing. The Labour Coimcillor spoke to 
them upon the error of their ways, and many, appar- 
ently heartily ashamed of themselves, proceeded 
home." 

As the mob diminished, those remaining became 
less aggressive and eventually dispersed 



62 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Writing to me, Mr. S. Hemsley saj^ : — 
''The above account of the rowdyism is rather under 
the mark. At one stage Mr. Lister was in great dan- 
ger of being killed, while Mr. Hardaker fainted away 
against a wall. Once we had left the town, which is 
in a very hilly part of Yorkshire, the ruffianism was 
unrestrained Many of the roughs were not present 
at the meeting, but were picked up on the way, at the 
street comers and public-house doors. Rushes down 
aill were very dangerous because of tHe numerous 
quarries in the district I had my head and legs 
severely bruised, and for several days was xmable to 
move about, while Hardaker was unable to work for 
over a week. Lister, however, suffered most, as he 
had to spend two months or more in a London Hos- 
pital to undergo special treatment One of the worst 
ruffians was recognised, and was summoned for assault 
Though his guilt was proved, he was only fined los. 
and costs. He was proved to have kicked Hardaker 
while the latter was down as the result of a shower of 
stones which he had received" Mr. Hemsley adds i 
" I think that is as much as I need say as to that 
incident, which was an experience I will never forget 
The saddest part of it to me was the disillusionment 
as to the presence of rudimentary instincts of fair* 
play which I had always believed were present in my 
fellow-countrymen, even among the most debased 
class. The mob was, however, not composed of the 
loafer type, but of all sections of the working class ; 
several seemed to me to be men of even above average 
social standing." 



CHAPTER VII. 

GLASGOW, 6th of MARCH. 

I left Padiham on Tuesday morning, the 
Sth of March, for Glasgow, where I was due 
to speak that evening. I had never yet been 
in Scotland, but I have always been an ar- 
dent lover of the Scotch. The great Scots- 
men, Bums, Hume, Carlyle, and Scott, have filled a 
big space in my life ; there are few men I love as I 
love Bums, and few poets I know so well Bums has 
a double charm for me, for my friend, the generous 
and high-souled F. W. Reitz, State Secretary of the 
South African Republic, has translated many of his 
poems into the TaaL Loving him as Mr. Reitz does» 
the translations are of peculiar excellence, a result 
which the close resemblance between the Scotch and 
the Dutch Afrikanders, especially in their pawky 
humour, has greatly contributed to. ** Klaas Geswint 
en zijn paert," a free rendering of " Tam O'Shanter, 
is a masterpiece of its kind. I felt that in Scotland I 
should be speaking to a people I was close akin to, 
whom I understood, and whp would understand me. 
I thought, too, that this small people who had 
fought so heroically and suffered so severely 
for their independence would thoroughly under- 
stand the terrible tragedy being enacted in 
South Africa, and would feel for the Boers. 
At any rate, I felt that the earnest and philosophic 
Scotch mind wouH eagerly desire to know the truth. 
It was a great moment of my life when I crossed the 

( 63 ) 



64 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

border, and knew that at last I was in Scotland, the 
land and people I loved best after my own land and 
people in the far South. 

I stayed with Mr. R F. Muirhead, President of the 
Edinburgh Mathematical Council, an old friend. 

I felt there would be some rowdyism at the meeting, 
for sundry reports had reached me, even before I 
arrived at Glasgow. In a letter to South Africa from 
Bradford, dated March the 3rd, I had written : " The 
Imperialist party are so alarmed, I am told, that from 
London even diey are organising a moB fo try to 
break up my Glasgow meeting on the 6th, having 
actually ordered eight hundred Union Jacks for the 
purpose of rowdyism." But I was not prepared for the 
disgraceful scene which took place. 

The meeting was one of " Citizens opposed to the 
war policy of the Government," and was held in the 
City Hall It was open unreservedly to the general 
public, admission being by ticket, at 6d. each. Trouble 
was anticipated. It appears that some Tories and 
capitalists of London, becoming alarmed at the large 
measure of success which had so far attended my 
meetings, determined that something was to be done 
to prevent any further successes. So the wires were 
set going from Londoa Many hundreds of Union 
Jacks were ordered to be supplied to the Imperialists 
for the purpose of arousing sufficient patriotic en- 
thusiasm to break up the meeting. The students were 
worked up (not perhaps that they needed much stimu- 
lation), and the comer boys of the streets were bought 
at from is. to 2s. 6d. per head by a well-known hanger- 
on of the Conservative party, who openly boasted that 
he had received orders from London to employ five 
himdred men and boys to wreck the mee^g, and that 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 65 

he would see that the meeting was not held There 
were also free drinks to the wreckers. (It is curious 
how closely associated are Imperialism and the Liquor 
Questioa We had frequent proof of this, especially 
at Scarborough, of which more later.) Knowing of all 
this, the organisers of the meeting had made excellent 
preparations to outwit and defeat the Imperialists. 
Some sympathisers were told to come early, and half 
an hour before the time a good number of stewards 
were admitted and placed in suitable positions. Two 
hundred sympathisers held the upper staircase, where 
the biggest &ght was expected, and where in fact it did 
take place. The students of the Gla^ow University 
turned out in great numbers, and marched down to 
the Hall with the object of entering en masse and 
upsetting the meeting ; but by some stroke of good 
luck they did not arrive until the hall was packed 
to suffocation, when they found the other organised 
Imperialist body, the paid comer boys of the streets, 
who were bent upon a similar errand, in possession 
of the stairs. In consequence of the foresight of the 
organisers of the meeting, when the doors were thrown 
open at 7.30 the large gallery was almost full, and the 
front half of the area was full At that hour the doors 
in Candleriggs were thrown open, and such of the 
general pubhc as had tickets admitted. At 8 o'clock 
the hall, which is estimated to hold from three to five 
thousand people, was full 

Then the doors were closed, and strong barriers 
thrown across the approaches, for a large crowd, num- 
bering thousands, was assembling in the street, plainly 
tent upon serious mischief. The audience, among 
whom there were a considerable number of ladies, 
consisted chiefly of working men, though not wholly. 



66 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

The rowdy element was composed of people who con- 
sider themselves as belonging to a higher stratum of 
society. Some policemen were on duty in the halU 
assisted by the white rosetted stewards. No sooner 
had the doors been closed than a tremendous fight 
began, the huge and angry mob at once with the ut- 
most violence attempting to storm the approaches and 
obtain forcible entrance to the halL Of this, later. 

I arrived at the hall at about twenty minutes to 
eight, and was shown to one of the ante-rooms where 
I met the Chairman, Bailie John Ferguson, and others. 
I was ill, and had to sit over the fire till eight o'clock ; 
in addition I had a nasty cough, and spoke only with 
great eflfort and irritation to the throat when it be- 
came necessary to raise my voice. Among those 
present who were to speak were Mr. Henry J. Wilson^ 
M.P., and Mr. D. Lloyd George, M.P., while Mr. J. 
Keir Hardie was in the hall looking to the defences. 

A considerable noise came from the hall: cheers^ 
shouts, and songs ; it was evident there was a lively 
time ahead of us. 

When we entered, it was plain in a moment that 
we had an absolutely overwhelming majority 
with us. We had a tremendous reception, our 
supporters standing up and cheering vocifer- 
ously, while our opponents, the bulk of whom 
had got together in one solid mass, booed 
and yelled lustily. As soon as silence was secured, we 
could hear the roar and the fight outside as the 
stewards defended the passages from the mob. 

Those in the hall who came to wreck the meeting 
had already made an attempt to do so. In the gallery 
a man had hoisted red white and blue streamers on a 
stick as a rallying point, and a large placard with 




/ 



I 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. (>7 

* Relief of Ladysmith " on it hzA been displayed over 
the front of the gallery. This effort of the " gods," 
however, had been nipped in the bud The man who 
displayed the streamers had been captured and his 
flags taken from him. No harm was done 
to him personally, but soon after, defeated 
and dejected, .he was seen to leave the gallery. 
The placard having been hauled down by the 
peace people and torn into shreds, those in the 
gallery, seeing they were outnumbered and had to do 
with resolute men, subsided. This reacted beneficially 
on the Imperialists in the body of the hall, where also 
a further quieting impression was created by Mr. 
Burgess, the local organiser of the Independent 
Labour Party, who announced that those in favour of 
a peaceful and orderly meeting would " shift " those 
who attempted to disturb the proceedings. Such 
Imperialists, I have repeatedly observed, are only 
brave when in overwhelming numbers, especially when 
a very large number have a single man or one or two 
men at their mercy. Then they display their valour 
by attacking with big sticks and heavy boots, support- 
ing their patriotic behaviour with obscene oaths, pat- 
riotic songs, waving of Union Jacks, and cheers for 
the Queen ; but at heart they are great cowards. 

It was at this stage that Bailie Ferguson rose to 
speak. He had a fine reception. But he had not got 
very far when Mr. Keir Hardie appeared from the back 
of the hall and asked for twenty stewards, which were 
promptly forthcoming, and Mr. Ferguson proceeded. 
Not for long, however, for soon Mr. Hardie again 
appeared, and asked for twenty more stewards. " You 
can have five himdred if you like," shouted Mr. Fer- 
guson, reflecting the tremendous excitement, "but 

F2 



68 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

we'll carry this meeting through." A much larger 
number than twenty rushed to the rear, and accom- 
panied Mr. Hardie to where the fight was hottest 
Mr. Ferguson soon after concluded his speech, which 
he had delivered with great energy, by introducing 
me to the meeting. 

At this juncture the state of affairs was as follows. 
There was a crowd of some thousands in the streets, 
^bout the Candleriggs and South Albion entrances 
to the hall, thickest at the Candleriggs entrance. Here 
they crowded in and up the staircase, as many as pos- 
sible attacking the various entrances. The staircase 
was the chief point of attack. The most desperate 
efforts were being made by the mob to break in. The 
upper staircase was held by two himdred supporters of 
the meeting, and to make the defence more sure, stout 
barriers had been thrown across the stairway. The 
Imperialists had taken possession of the ante-rooms, 
where they smashed the furniture. Having done this, 
they broke into a lumber room, where they obtained 
possession of a large number of long broom-handles. 
Armed with pieces of broken furniture, which they 
threw at the defenders, and with broom-handles with 
which they struck at them, they conducted themselves 
like madmea The defenders, directed mainly by Mr. 
Keir Hardie and Mr. Burgess, made a splendid de- 
fence ; but the police, although Corporation property 
was being destroyed and endangered, practically stood 
aside, and thus encouraged the mob in its diabolical 
work. The fight waxed hot and dangerous ; one man 
was carried out in a fainting condition, and many were 
injured ; but that did not seem to concern the police 
much. Those who were attacking were urged on by 
those near them who made a terrible din, beating large 



rHE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 69 

tin trays, thumping the walls, shouting and singing 
*• patriotic " songs, principally " Soldiers of the Queen,** 
while the crowd in the streets, jammed Uke sardines, 
surged and roared, answered by those in the hall, who, 
" willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike," by every 
means encouraged the struggling host outside. One 
does not like to think what would have happened if 
the mob had succeeded in storming the entrances, and 
got into the halL 

This was the position when I arose to speak. The 
audience gave me a most magnificent reception, rising 
to their feet, waving hats on sticks, and handkerchiefs, 
while cheer on cheer, lasting several minutes, arose, 
completely drowning the shouts of the war party. 
Then it suddenly became quiet, in that peculiar way 
all must have observed who have attended great meet- 
ings. It was a great effort to me to speak ; my voice 
was so weak that I could hardly make myself heard 
at the back of the halL I was simply not fit to address 
even a small meeting. 

While I spoke, the fight waxed fiercer on the stair- 
way, and the excitement and noise in the hall in- 
creased, for the Imperialists got more and more bold 
as there seemed a likelihood of their friends forcing 
a way in. During one of the outbursts, when most of 
the audience had turned in their seats and were look- 
ing back towards the door, momentarily expecting the 
mob to burst in, Mr. Ferguson touched me on the 
shoulder, and suggested that I should make only a 
short speech. Now, again, he urged this course anew, 
pointing out how critical the situation was. I» of 
course, was framing my remarks as he wished, and 
with the idea of soon ending, I restimed my speech 
as soon as a relief guard which had been (aUed for 



70 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

had reached the scene of the conflict on the staircase. 
But I had not spoken more than a few sentences when 
the hall seemed charged with electricity ; there was a 
great noise, and it became evident that the fight on 
the stairway was nearing a very acute stage. This 
electric state of things wrought the audience up to 
a high pitch of excitement; it became increasingly 
difficult to hold their attention, for they kept one eye 
on me and the other on the door. Just then, during 
a particularly noisy outburst, Mr. Ferguson touched me 
on the shoulder, and asked me to bring the speech to 
an end sharp. We had, he said, an overwhelming 
majority with us in the hall, and could easily carry our 
resolutions, which he was particularly anxious to do ; 
but he feared the mob might force their way in at any 
moment and prevent our carrying the resolutions by 
breaking up the meeting. I agreed with him, and so 
as soon as comparative order was restored, I ended 
abruptly. Immediately thereupon, Mr. Ferguson called 
upon Councillor Geoffrey Hunter to read the resolu- 
tions, which he did They were at once seconded by 
Mr. D. M*Lardy. Neither proposer nor seconder made 
any remarks at alL The uproar was deafening. There 
were three resolutions — (a) condemning the war ; (b) 
in favour of the independence of the Republics ; and 
(c) condemning the Rosebery-Chamberlain-Rhodes 
Capitalistic Imperialism. These Mr. Ferg^uson put to 
the meeting en bloc^ and, amidst the wildest uproar, 
declared them carried by an overwhelming majority. 
He was quite justified in doing so, for I suppose the 
voting was about six to one in their f avoiu:. 

The scene that ensued beggars description. It 
was momentarily expected, especially by the Imperial* 
ists, that the mob would break ia Defeated on the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 71 

resolutions, the Imperialists now grew thoroughly 
angry, and, breaking loose from such restraint as they 
had placed upon themselves, made a desperate attempt 
to wreck the meeting on the spot They had gathered 
largely in one place, and now they all rose to their feet 
and shouted and cheered and waved flags. Such 
patriots have made many of us loathe the very sight 
of the Union Jack. The flags on the outskirts of the 
gang were soon hauled down and destroyed by our 
sympathisers, who at once rose to hold their own, and 
to prevent the meeting being wrecked. But one man 
right in the centre of the gang sprang upon a chair, 
and ran up a Union Jack on a long stick. A violent 
struggle ensued Our men, conscious of their strength 
and earnest in their ideas, held themselves wonder- 
fully under control under circumstances of the most 
angering and insulting nature. They struck no one, 
and injured no one, but gradually worked up to the 
man with the flag, pulled him off the chair, smashed 
the pole of the flag, seized the flag, and tore it in 
shreds, amidst a terrible din of shouts and cheers, 
echoed by the raging mob on the staircase, where our 
men were making so gallant a stand The shreds of 
the flag were passed to the platform, where they were 
received with deafening cheers as they were victori- 
ously waved. May the flag of England ever find such 
men to rescue it from dishonour! I was struck by the 
fact that nearly all the audience kept their seats, leav- 
ing the hundreds of rowdy Imperialists to be dealt 
with by a few resolute, silent mea They had correctly 
estimated the valour of the Imperialists. Soon after 
this, some of the stewards came back into the hall, 
and it quickly spread that the attacking mob had been 
beaten back and the passage cleared 



72 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

It appears that the fight had gone on with un- 
diminished brutality, the police declining to take any 
really effective steps against the assailants, even 
though the curators of the hall appealed to them, and 
although the property being destroyed belonged to the 
Corporation. They were at length, it is said, induced 
to take steps on receipt of a note from Bailie Fer- 
guson to the Chief Constable, whereupon that official 
instructed his men to clear the stairs. This they 
speedily succeeded in doing, assisted by a large de- 
tachment of police (bringing the total number of police 
engaged up to about one hundred), which was rapidly 
brought up for the purpose. With a final howl of 
execration, the Imperialists retreated beaten into the 
street, and the stewards returned into the halL 

The defeat of the mob and the clearing of the stairs 
had a quietening effect upon the Imperialists within 
the hall They knew now that all hope of assistance 
from the huge mob had ceased, which had a marvel- 
lously steadying effect upon them. But for this, I do 
not believe order could possibly have been restored. 

Soon Mr. Keir Hardie appeared on the platform, 
with beads of perspiration standing on his forehead, 
testifying to his strenuous efforts. He received 
well-deserved cheers. Mr. Keir Hardie is a brave 
man. 

Mr. Lloyd George then arose to speak, but had to 
stand for many minutes before the noise quieted 
down. But the self-restraint of the peace men, 
and the cutting off of the outside mob, and 
Mr. Lloyd George's good-humoured patience at 
last secured comparative quiet, and he got in 
a few sentences. Once started, he behaved 
in the most skilful way. Humouring the rowdies» 



D. LLOYD-GEORGE. : 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 75 

parrying smartly, and speaking eloquently, he at last 
got complete control, which he held for about forty- 
five minutes, making a fine speech which was con- 
cluded amidst thunders of applause. Mr. H. J. Wilson 
added a few words. Mr. Keir Hardie proposed a vote 
of thanks to the speakers, which I briefly acknow- 
ledged, in turn proposing a vote of thanks to the 
chairman. Then the meeting broke up sing^g **Auld 
Lang Syne," "Rule Britannia," "Soldiers of the 
Queen," etc. 

In South Albion Street the crowd had not been so 
large, but when the Candleriggs crowd had been 
baulked of its intention to storm the stairway, they 
came round to the South Albion lot However, a staff 
of police there held them somewhat in check. During 
the interim, until the meeting dispersed, the crowd 
passed the time with occasional processions round the 
square formed by Candleriggs, Ingram Street, South 
Albion Street, and Bell Street, and by the holding of 
an impromptu indignation meeting. 

When the meeting dispersed, a lai^ crowd was 
around the hall, waiting to assault the leaders of the 
meeting. Those who were suspected of being stewards 
were severely maltreated, while the police looked on 
blandly. When Mr. Keir Hardie appeared with two 
of his sisters and his niece, he was at once set upon, 
and roughly handled by a crowd of several thousand 
persons. But being well known, he was rescued by a 
body of day-shift constables, coming off duty at the 
time, and taken to the police office near by for safety. 
It was a very fortunate escape. A cab was sent for 
later, and Mr. Keir Hardie and his friends ultimately 
got away. Mr. Lloyd Geoi^e had his cab attacked 
and the windows bxoken, but he, too, managed to 



74 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

€scape. I had remained talking to some of the 
audience on the platform. I knew nothing of mobs, 
never having seen one in my life, and, holding a high 
opinion of EngUshmen and Scotsmen, I neVer dreamt 
of cowardly attacks outside. I only got news of what 
the crowd had done next morning. I walked uncon- 
cernedly with my friends out of the haU when we had 
finished our conversation, and through the people 
standing about outside. I attracted no attention, being 
unknown. It did not occur to me as strange at the 
time, as I had not expected any rough treatment I 
learnt next morning what I had escaped, for it was me 
that the mob wanted; but I was in blissful imcon- 
sciousness of it 

Among the crowd was a band of students who had 
been disappointed in gaining admission to the hall. 
Leading the crowd, they formed into procession and 
paraded the principal streets, singing patriotic songs, 
and generally behaving in an Imperialistic manner. In 
the course of their march, they visited the office of 
the Labour Leader (Mr. Keir Hardie's paper), and 
wrecked it, doing about £iQ damage, and carrying off 
a large amount of Labour literature. Mr. Hardie 
drily remarked to me that he would forgive them the 
damage if they would only read the literature. Other 
crowds also paraded the streets. 

An eloquent fact remains to be chronicled. Only 
one arrest so* far as I have been able to hear, was 
made. A boy of sixteen years was arrested for throw- 
ing a stone at a policeman! It is perhaps worthy of 
mention, too, that though, by the law of the country, 
the costs of the damages to property during a riot of 
this kind are to be borne by the rates, the Glasgow 

Town Council showed its appreciation of the conduct 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 75 

of the patriotic mob by refusing to pay for the damage 
<lone to the Labour Leader office. 

As showing the spirit which animated the Glasgow 
Imperialists — on the one hand the students, and on, 
the other a section of the workmen — the two following 
extracts from the Chronicle are instructive : — 

No. I. — "A riot occurred yesterday in Glasgow 
University. The German lecturer, Prof. Alex. Tille, 
^as waited upon by three hundred students, who had 
taken offence at the alleged unpatriotic reflections cast 
upon the British Army and Volunteers, in his letter to 
Die Woche. The Professor reached the University 
lecture rooms to find that the students were waiting 
to assault him. He refused to face the mob. A signal 
was given, and in an instant he was surroimded by a 
howling crowd. There were three professorial gowns 
in the side room, and to make sure they had secured 
that worn by the object of their wrath, all three were 
torn into ribbons. Cries of " Duck him in the Kelvin *' 
were instantly raised, and while a movement was made 
in the direction of the river, the hapless lecturer's hat 
was abused, and his clothes nearly torn off his back. 
While the mob was surging on towards the Kelvin, 
Prof. Murdoch Cameron arrived on the scene, and 
parleyed with the excited crowd Soon after, the 
Principal himself appeared, and joined his colleagues 
in protecting Dr. Tille. The Principal's remark that 
''D^. Tille could not be expected to apologise to a 
mob,' served to revive the flame of indignation, and, 
setting law and order at defiance, thcPrindpal, profes- 
sor, and lecturer, were roughly hustled into the class 
room and imprisoned there." 

No. 2. — ** Yesterday afternoon four hundred Clyde 



76 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

shipyard employees, who had declared holiday^ 
marched with picks and shovels and flags to Glasgow 
University, and demanded that Dr. Alex. Tille, the 
German professor, who had published certain state- 
ments about the war in a German newspaper, should 
be given over to them, as they wished to duck him in 
the Kelvin. Professors shouted that Dr. Tille was not 
there. The mob, however, smashed in the door, and 
damaged the stair railings before they could be per- 
suaded to retire. Professor Tille resigned the German 
chair on Tuesday last" 

The day after the meeting in Glasgow I went over 
the University with Professor Muirhead. There were a 
considerable number of students about If they had 
but known who it was that was quietly walking among 
them in their own stronghold ! 



CHAPTER VIII. 

EDINBURGH, 7TH MARCH. 

On the afternoon of Wednesday, the 7th of March» 
still unwell, I went over to Edinburgh to speak at the 
meeting there that evening. It was my first visit to 
that historic, and to me almost sacred, town. It was 
still light enough, as I walked up the beautiful Princes 
Street, to see clearly the hill with its krantzes and the 
famous castle which "like an eagle's nest, hang 
on the crest " ; a difficult place to storm, and yet the 
brave and freedom-loving Scots of past years — ^the 
Scotch " Boers " of those days — stormed it. My pulse 
beat faster as the glorious memories of Scotland's 
greatness passed through my mind — a greatness 
associated with Wallace, the Covenanters, and many 
others in all walks of life, till it culminated a hundred 
years ago in the mighty Bums, in whom the whole 
beautiful genius of what I have long regarded as 
perhs^s on the whole the most remarkable race in the 
world seemed to be concentrated, especially its love of 
freedom and pride in simple manhood One of the 
hardest things I have ever had to bear in my Ufe was 
the treatment I received in Scotland, and the lurid 
light that evening in Edinburgh and its subsequent 
events threw upon the decadence of what was once so 
virile and beautiful Not that I would "indict a 
nation " ; in many that I met and in many that I never 
met the undimmed beauty of that race shines in its 
full glory. Its noble self-restraint, its temperance of 
language, its shrewd yet generous judgment, its mag- 

( 77 ) 



;8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

nificent bravery, its fine religious genius, its almost 
overwhelming hospitality, the quiet, staimch strength 
of its men and women — these still are found in many. 
Individuals stand out with increased splendour be- 
cause of the squalor that surrounds them, just as 
dying Rome was illuminated by the superb genius of 
a few remarkable men. No healthy nation would have 
tolerated what occurred in England and Scotland 
during the South African war. One has to go to per- 
secuted Ireland to find a chivalrous sympathy. 

I proceed to relate what occurred in Edinburgh in 
connection with my visit, stating the facts in the order 
in which they came to my knowledge. 

Part I. 
My Own Experience in the Hands of the Mob. 

The following letter was addressed by me to the 
Scotsman after my return to Limpsfield, and appeared 
in that paper on the 1 7th of March. It was written in 
consequence of the outrageously false account which 
the Scotsman published of what happened to me. 

" Sir, 

" As the Scotsman's account of what happened 
in Edinburgh on the evening of the 7th instant, when 
the meeting was broken up, is so incorrect and mis- 
leading, I beg you will allow me space to state what 
actually did occur, as far as I personally am con- 
cerned 

" When I left Glasgow, I arranged with my host to 
return by the train which left Edinburgh at 9.50 p.nL 
On arriving at Edinburgh I walked into the Balmoral 
Hotel, and, addressing the women attendants who 
keep the books, said I wanted a room for an hour, and 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 79 

dinner. During dinner I told the waiter my name, 
adding that a cab would call for me at 7.30, and that 
I would be in room 50. As I left the dining room 
when dinner was over, I spoke to the hall porter and 
gave him my name, telling him that a cab would come 
for me, and instructing him to show the gentleman 
who came up to my room. I then paid my hotel 
account, as I did not intend to retura I have the 
receipted account in my possession at the present 
moment. 

"At a little after 7.30, Mr. A. Menmuir and Mr. 
Thomas Hardie came in a cab, and asked for me by 
name. They were shown up to my room. Then they 
and I drove away. On arriving near the ball we found 
an enormous crowd standing round the front entrance. 
Mr. Menmuir accidentally got separated from us here, 
but Mr. T. Hardie and I walked into the outskirts of 
the crowd. Finding it impossible to get through, we 
went roimd to a back entrance. Here we also found a 
small crowd of a couple of hundred or so tightly 
wedged round the closed door, which was guarded by 
policemea Mr. T. Hardie said he would try to arrange 
with the police to admit us at that door, and left me 
for that purpose. As he did not return quickly, I 
decided to appeal to the crowd to let me go through, 
thinking that the Committee in the hall might be in- 
convenienced by my absence ; and feeling that as the 
guest of the evening I should make a special effort to 
get ia I argued to myself that if I acted like a man 
and a gentleman, the crowd (which was composed 
mainly of respectably dressed young men whom I took 
to be students) would reciprocate. So I walked alone 
into the midst of them imtil they quite surrounded 
me, and then twice called out loudly : ' Gentlemen ! ' 



So THE LAT^D OF FREE SPEECH. 

This drew their attention to me, and secured silence. 
Then I addressed them, saying : * I am probably the 
man you are most interested in: my name is Cron- 
Wright Schreiner.' Having thus secured their fixed 
attention, I reminded them that I was the guest of the 
evening, and that those who had asked me to spealc 
were waiting for me inside, and I appealed to them as 
gentlemen to let me pass through into the halL To 
my surprise, the appeal was in vain. It appeared I 
over-estimated the manliness of those present A 
discussion followed, in which I promised to see that 
every man who had a ticket should be admitted, and» 
with regard to those who had no tickets (and thus 
no right to enter), that I would use my best endeavours 
to secure their admittance also, if they, on their part, 
would promise me not to break up the meeting. I also 
said if ticket-holders were refused admission I would 
return to the crowd. More than this I could not do, 
and more than this I refused to do. This offer ap- 
pealed to a few (for there were some gentlemen 
present), but the crowd would not have it Several 
violent hands were already laid upon me, and I was 
now sworn at in most obscene language, and threat- 
ened by well-dressed cowards armed with heavy sticks. 
The crowd demanded that I should make a speech, 
which I refused to do, whereupon I was told I should 
have to come to where the main crowd was. I said 
I was surprised to find such want of manliness. They 
said rd have to go, and whea I repUed Td only go if 
carried, they hoisted me on their shoulders and car- 
ried me some twenty or thirty yards and then set me 
dowa From the moment I was seized, which was 
shortly after I announced my name, I had no control 
whatever over my actions. As soon as I was put on 



THE 1-AND OF FREE SPEECH. 8i 

my feet again, I was seized by as many as could get 
a hand on me, and pulled in several directions at once, 
and jostled and sworn at and threatened in the most 
disgusting and cowardly manner. Held all the time, 
I was forced up a stairway, and a speech demanded of 
me — speech, when a thousand or two brave ' Imperial- 
ists ' were howling ! I was again torn from the stair- 
way, and pulled about for a long time, my arms being 
severely twisted, and the pressure from all sides being 
overwhelming, until, after about an hour, I could 
stand it no longer. All this weary (and on my part, 
silent) time, not a policeman appeared The last I 
remember was a blow over the head with a heavy 
stick, from the effects of which a hard hat saved me. 
Some gentlemen lifted me into a cab, and I was driven 
off, I knew not where. When the cab stopped, one 
of my companions said : ' Come in quickly, before the 
mob catches up,' and, alighting at once, we entered 
what I foimd to be the Balmoral Hotel. We ascended 
the stairway. On the landing someone asked where 
we should go, to which I replied I had had room No. 
SO, but an attendant said that room was now engaged. 
Not another word was addressed to me either then or 
later by anyone connected with the hotel ; for just 
at that moment a courtly old gentleman opened a 
door, and asked me into his private sitting room, 
where he treated me with that delicacy and considera- 
tion which befitted his years and bearing. I remained 
there for about half-an-hour, in friendly political con- 
troversy with him, Mr. T. Hardie, and two of my 
political opponents, who were men, and who had, I 
then heard, kept the crowd from trampling me when 
I was down, and put me into the cab. It was 7.45 
when I entered the crowd ; it was 9.20 when I left 

G 



82 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

the hotel At 9.20 I walked with Mr. T. Hardie and 
one of these manly opponents quietly down to the 
station, and left by the 9.50 train for Glasgow, where 
my host met me as arranged. The story about my 
having been asked to leave the hotel is a lie, as also 
is the statement that before I left the hotel at 7.30 my 
name was not known to at least one of the waiters and 
one of the hall porters. 

" That is the true story of what occurred It is too 
shameful for me to comment much upon it. 

"You call me a Dutchman, knowing full well, I 
should think, how that would inflame the mob. But 
it happens that every drop of blood in my veins is 
pure British — ^nay, even that there is a strain of Scot- 
tish in me. I do not say boastfully that I am of pure 
British blood ; in the first place, it is not really rele- 
vant to the matter, and, in the next, I do not know 
that at present it is a matter to be proud of. But still 
the fact remains that I am pure British, also that I 
am a British subject, and have never been anything 
else. As regards my politics, if I am known at all in 
the public life of the Cape Colony it is as the opponent 
of the Afrikander Bond, and one of the recognised 
pro-Native men. Lastly, I am one of those very Out- 
landers for whom the war party professes to be fight- 
ing. 

" I hold, and I confidently appeal to the f utiure to 
bear me out, that the policy which has been and is 
being pursued in South Africa is bad for South 
Africa, bad for Great Britain, and bad for the Em- 
pire. I desire to discuss with my fellow British sub- 
jects what is best for the land we love; and I am 
seized and assaulted by a huge crowd representative 
of those who profess to be fighting for freedom oi 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 83 

speech — a crowd of a thousand or two Imperialists, a 
cowardly, brawling, obscene, armed multitude against 
one unarmed silent man. 

" Sir, it was a wise and kindly intellect that said, 
' If you would love mankind, don't expect too much 
of if 

" You will say that we who loathe this capitalist 
war are in a minority. I reply that never before has 
this nation been so divided on a war policy; never 
before has the best character and intellect been so 
opposed to a war ; and I may add that, even were I 
quite alone, ' God and one are a majority.' 

" I am, etc., 

" S. C. Cronwright Schreiner/* 

"March 15th." 

Two policemen were standing against the door by 
which I had hoped to gain admission. I was within 
ten yards of them when I entered the crowd and 
gave myself up to their power, and when the crowd 
carried me off. These policemen saw all that oc- 
curred, and they never stirred a finger to help. 
I did not appeal to them. There are two 
things I decided never to do : to appeal for 
help, either to the police or to anyone else, 
and to run from a mob. Better to die than rxm from 
such canaille. 

The throng increased in numbers rapidly, word 
having been passed round, the Scotsman* says, that I 
was " in the hands of the crowd" Carried shoulder 
high, I was borne some little distance along the lane 

• I quote the Scotsman because it was a particularly violent 
and unscrupulous paper, which in every way endeavoured 
to minimise the gravity of the assault on myself, and the 
fight within the hall. 

G 2 



84 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

and then dropped, as many as possible keeping hold 
upon me, mainly by the neck and collar of my Ches* 
terfield coat I remember especially one young 
clean-shaven man with a heavy stick, because he kept 
closer hold on me than others and used more foul 
language (I think he was slightly in liquor), and 
because I think I perhaps saved him from serious 
hurt, as I shall relate presently. "With the crowd 
surging around," says the Scotsman, " Mr. Schreiner 
was soon dropped on his feet, and, notwithstanding 
the fact that those in immediate attendance on him 
did their utmost to protect him from any rough treat- 
ment" — a fact, if it be a fact, I first learnt when I 
saw the Scotsman* s account — " he was subjected to a 
very severe mauling as he was rushed along Thistle 
Street and down North St David Street" Matters, 
indeed, were looking decidedly serious, it says, when 
I was forced up the stairway. 

A peculiar incident occurred here. A small 
middle-aged lady was standing against the door, 
whither she had no doubt retired to escape the surg- 
ing mob, which now (augmented by the huge Queen 
Street crowd) numbered some thousands. There 
were people in every direction as far as I could see, 
mad with passion and making a horrible noise. 
Hearing my name, and seeing the attention the crowd 
paid me, she addressed me. "Are you Mr. 
Schreiner ?" she asked I replied that I was. Where* 
upon she extended her hand and shook mine most 
cordially, saying, "Fm so glad to meet you." I 
turned and said to those near me, " Take care ; you'll 
crush this lady," and I and others held the crush 
back while a passage was made by which the plucky 
little woman passed down the steps and was lost 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 85 

among the howling thousands. Strange to say, I was 
to meet her again, under hardly less exciting circum- 
stances two months later, on the occasion of my 
second visit to Edinburgh. 

I was alone again, except for Mr. T. Hardie ; not 
another friend as far as I was aware; but I after- 
wards learnt that two men (those referred to in my 
letter) were near me, who, though determined to 
keep me, were also determined that, so far as they 
could manage it, no serious harm should be done to 
me. As soon as the lady disappeared, the crowd 
surged anew towards the stair, and as many as it 
could hold crowded into it and were jammed up by 
those behind The pressure became very severe, for 
the two crowds (from Thistle Lane and Queen 
Street) had rushed together in St David's Street. 
Looking down to my right as I stood facing the 
crowd, I saw that only a moderately strong iron railing 
separated us from a nasty drop into the stone-flagged 
basement I did all I could to keep from being 
pressed against the railing, fearing it would go. The 
big, dean-shaven man in his excitement did not notice 
thisu Jammed against the railing, he was alternating 
cries for " Speech " with oaths. Turning to him I 
said, ** You had better stand away from that railing ; 
it is not strong, and, if the pressure breaks it, you^U 
be hurled down below there and seriously hurt" He 
realised his danger when he looked down ; then giv- 
ing me a curious look, he stood away from the railings 
and let go my collar. Whether he among the others 
seized hold again later, I do not know ; I was pulled 
about so that I noticed no more individual faces. 

This stairway, the Scotsman says, was No. 8, 
North St David Street That paper's account, writ- 



86 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

ten by a reporter who visited the scene next morning; 
proceeds : "The railing on the north side was observed 
to be not only bent, but ten of the bars had been 
dislodged from the stone fixtures, while three of the 
stones were badly smashed." Mr. Norman D. Mac- 
donald, one of the war party, writing to the Scotsman 
of the J 9th March, says that what the pressure of the 
huge crowd was " could be seen by the fact that one 
side of the doorstep was completely broken away by 
the veiy stone being fractured, and also because the 
railings at the comer of Queen Street (where the 
faint took place) were within an ace of goix^ by the 
board, cope-stone and all, which would have caused 
a catastrophe similar to that at General Grant's 
funeral" And Mr. T. Hardie writes that among the 
damages to property paid for by the city (which at 
the same time disclaimed liability) was "damage done 
to the railings on platt above area, where for some 
time Mr. Schreiner was severely crushed" He adds : 
" It is a miracle that the railings did not give way, in 
which case about twenty persons would have been 
precipitated into the area, where a number would cer- 
tainly have been killed. As it was, the yielding of 
the railing^ broke the edges of the stone platt" 

The rest is detailed in my letter to the Scotsman. 

It is unnecessary to go into the false accounts 
given by the Scotsman and the Evening Despatch^ or 
to refer to the terms in which they wrote of 
me and glorified my cowardly assailants. But to 
illustrate further to some extent the natiure of what 
really did occur, I give two short letters from the 
Evening News. 

John Leslie writes : " In your issue of yesterday 
appears a letter over the signature of ' Reader ' re the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 87 

xecent riot in and around Queen Street HalL In that 
letter it is claimed that the students formed a body- 
guard round Mr. Schreiner and gave him all the 
protection he received during the process of 
mobbing. Would you allow me in so many 
words to give that statement the most em- 
phatic denial? As one who was beside Mr. 
Schreiner from first to last, I can say that the only 
protection he received was from a few men, all ot 
whom are personally known to me, and at what cost 
that protection, small as it was, was given, sore bones 
can testify. No amount of high falutin can get over 
the fact that the student element was overwhelmingly 
predominant in the crowd, and nothing under heaven 
can be compared to their treatment of Mr. Schreiner 
save that of a horde of carnivorous animals worrying 
a carcase. I speak of what I saw, and what makes 
the matter worse is that they were informed before- 
hand that Mr. Schreiner was suffering from influenza, 
and only appeared that night from a strong sense of 
duty. It was a man with a penny trumpet who also 
attempted to strike Mr. Schreiner with a bludgeon 
through the cab window while Mr. Schreiner lay ex- 
tended, apparently senseless, upon the cushions." 

"Freedom" vnrites: "As one who was in close 
proximity to Mr. Schreiner during the rapt attentions 
paid to him by a horde of howling 'patriots/ permit 
me to say that the conduct of these gentlemen reflects 
little to their credit Indeed, it was disgraceful, and 
it is a pity that such warlike ardour should be so mis- 
applied. Mr. Schreiner, after an hour's ceaseless 
bt^eting, was, to the most inexperienced eye even, 
in a state of great exhaustion, and it didn't surprise 
me to see him stagger and collapse unconscious at my 



88 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

feet. But this did not appease the crowd, who 
frothed and cheered as if Majuba had again been 
avenged. I went to this silly ' Stop-the-War * meet- 
ing intending to mildly protest, as it were, against the 
protest, but I returned feeling very indignant that 
such a vindictive administration of mob law should 
have been possible in the streets of our enlightened 
city, even were the victim the veriest scamp breath- 
ing. One cowardly fellow struck Mr. Schreiner over 
the head with a stick, and the courageous act was 
vociferously encored, and from all quarters came en- 
thusiastic suggestions on how best to annihilate him 
right off. But, of course, a crowd is notoriously heart- 
less, and I do not blame it so much as I do the police* 
The police arrangements were disgracefully inade- 
quate, and the least said about the individual zeal of 
the small band of constables the better. So far as 
I could see, one was free to kick the life out of Mr, 
Schreiner for all the objections they would raise. 
Robert was never so complacent, and his patriotism 
was very beautiful to see, but surely it ought not to 
have obscured his plain duty." 

The Scotsman refused to credit my account of 
what happened, and, in addition to its many unmanly 
comments, admitted a nimiber of letters, anonymous 
and otherwise, of a peculiarly cowardly and untruthful 
nature. But when Mr. T. Hardie, who was with me 
most of the time (as will be seen later from his offi- 
cial Report) wrote corroborating my statements, the 
Scotsman refused to pubUsh his letter. I have a copy 
of this rejected letter, dated 20th March. 

It appears that when I was lifted into the cab, the 
cabman at first refused to drive me away, but was 
compelled to, being reminded that he could not re- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 89 

fase the fare. Then the crowd tried to outspan (un- 
harness) the horse and overturn the cab, and, after it 
started, tried to seize the wheels, and beat it with 
sticks, injuring it to such an extent that the cabmain 
claimed and obtained a substantial sum for damages. 

The two men who, in addition to Mr. T. Hardie, 
saved me from the crowd were Mr. W. H. Nutt and 
Dr. Abemethy — men who did not agree with my 
views (as far as they knew them) but yet were men 
and gentlemen. They told me that they beUeved,. 
if they had not held me up when I fell, the crowd 
would have trampled me to death, and that they 
simply had to tear me from the hands of the crowd 
to get me into the cab. They also said they were 
so tired with holding me up and getting me away 
from the clutches of the crowd that they could not 
have lasted much longer. And, indeed, the beads ot 
perspiration on their foreheads showed the exertion 
they had gone through. But no one in that crowd 
behaved so well as Mr. T. Hardie. 

It is true I must have presented a sorry figure 
when taken into the hotel I had lost my hat and 
tie, the hat when it was knocked off by the heavy^ 
stick, the tie when my collar and shirt were opened 
to enable me to breathe more freely. 

I have one very unpleasant thing to do, and that 
is to say a few words with regard to the " courtly old 
gentleman" who asked me into his private sitting- 
room, ''and treated me with that delicacy and con- 
sideration which befitted his years and bearing." 
What actually happened was this. As soon as I was 
in his room, he poured out half a wineglass of neat 
whisky which he begged me to drink. It was a 
timely restorative. Then after I had put my dis- 



90 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

hevelled clothes straight, he and I and the other 
gentlemen present had a perfectly friendly conversa- 
tion on political matters. When I arose to go, see- 
ing I had no hat, one of those present offered me a 
csp, but the old gentleman begged that I would 
accept his own hard hat (" bowler," I think the style 
is called). I refused, saying I did not need it, and 
would get myself another in the morning. But in 
the kindest and most gentlemanly manner he insisted, 
omtil I at last accepted it I was much touched 
by his kindness after the brutal treatment I had 
received outside, and in my mind thought of him as 
a fine type of a Scotch gentleman of the old school 
We shook hands cordially, and, with his hat on my 
head, Mr. Nutt, Mr. T. Hardie, and myself left by 
the front door of the hotel for the railway station, 
^walking down Princes Street (At the station the 
hero was a seemingly half-drunken soldier playing 
a penny whistle, around whom an enthusiastic little 
crowd had gathered.) My surprise may be imagined 
when, immediately following my letter in the Scots- 
ntan^ appeared the following from "the courtly old 
;gentleman.'* 

" Lawers, Perthshire, 

'' March 1 6th, 1900. 
" Sir, — It seems to me that our students in Edin- 
burgh have been unjustly censured for their conduct 
•on the evening of the 7th March. Mr. Schreiner, 
who took refine in my room, gave me an account of 
what took place. He said he arrived at the Queen 
Street Hall, and found a large crowd outside of the 
^entrance door. He there and then addressed a few 
•sentences to the crowd. He pushed his way into the 
<nx)wd, he stated he was never struck, but the free 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 91 

speech of the assembly made more noise than his 
free speech, and the weight of some hundred persons 
caused him and some few others to be pushed tmder 
foot In common with others holding contrary 
opinions to those he advocated, he lost his hat» rug» 
and umbrella. He was in a state of terror when he 
entered my room. He was soon refreshed by means 
of a glass of whisky and three-quarters of an hour of 
rest» a hat was presented to him, and he returned to a 
railway station without further adventure. A con- 
siderable party of students walked up and down 
Prince's Street (some having lost their hats, and 
which have not been replaced by Boer sympathisers) 
singing patriotic songs, but did no damage to persons 
or property. 

" When in my room I listened to Mr. Schreiner*s 
rehearsal of the speech he had hoped to deUver in 
Queen Street Hall, and I was, and am, satisfied that 
he is an enemy of our coimtry, of our soldiers, of our 
institutions, and of our Queen. And it seemed to 
me that the very free speech indulged in by our 
students had right upon its side. 

" I am, etc., 

''David R. Williamson." 

"P.S. — Schreiner is not the true name of the 
paid Boer lecturer." 

It appears that " David R. Williamson " is a man 
of some standing, a Colonel, who had some relatives 
(two sons, I think) fighting in South Africa. His 
letter is, of course, a tissue of falsehoods; its tone 
that of a poltroon and a coward His affable de* 
meanour when we were face to face contrasted with 
ills unspeakably mean letter, stamps him as one either 



92 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

not quite ccmfos mentis^ or else one as unmanly as 
untruthful 

The following is a copy of the '' Report as given 
in by Mr. Thomas Hardie to the Report Committee of 
the Edinburgh Stop-the^War Committee^ 27th March, 
1900 " ; — 

"QUEEN STREET HALL RIOT. 

" ILL TREATMENT OF MR. CRONWRIGHT SCHREINER. 

"It was a few minutes past 7.30 p.m. when Mn 
Schreiner, Mr. A Menmuir, and myself left the Bal- 
moral Hotel in a cab for Queen Street Hall, where 
Mr. Schreiner was to have addressed a meeting con- 
vened by the Edinburgh Stop-the-War Committee, 
to protest against the action of her Majesty's 
Government in South Africa. 

" Having lost sight of Mr. Menmuir in the crowd 
gathered about the front door, and seeing that it was 
impossible to get in by that entrance, I took Mr. S. 
round to the back. Here, too, the crowd was great, 
so I asked Mr. S. to stay just where he was until I 
made my way through the crowd to the door to see 
if it was possible to get in. Two policemen guarded 
the door, which was locked in the inside. I quietly 
told them that one of the principal speakers arranged 
for was outside, and was anxious to get in. They 
said that ' they had nothing to do with that, that we 
would require to go to the front door.* I told them 
that the doors there were locked, and that if they 
would only draw the attention of those inside by 
knocking, I would undertake to get the door opened. 
No attention was paid to this request of mine, so I 
began knocking on the door myself, but instead of 
any consideration being shown on their part, I was 



THOMAS HARDIE 



\\ . 












t.-' 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 93 

peremptorily told to clear out. Returning to where 
I had left Mr. S., I found he had forsaken that place. 
Thinking he might have walked along the lane, 
I went on for a few yards, but not seeing him, I re* 
turned again, only to find that he was the centre of 
attraction in the crowd. He had revealed his iden- 
tity, trusting that they would allow him to get in, but 
as he himself states, he over-estimated their manli- 
ness. He was at once surrounded and held by the 
ever-increasing crowd, which I may say, to my mind, 
consisted almost entirely of students. I did not see 
in the whole of the abusive mob, from the time the 
hustling commenced tmtil the time when Mr. S. was 
safely inside the hotel, what I could have taken to be 
a working man. While still in the lane at the back of 
the hall, the ' patriotism ' of the mob was exhaust- 
ing itself in howling and shouting and in singing the 
National Anthem and Rule Britannia, while hands 
were reaching out from all sides for a pull at Mr. 
S. Had it not been for the remarkable coolness 
and even complacency which Mr. S. showed all 
through, I believe that it would have been more seri"> 
ous for him, but the calm and reasonable attitude 
which he adopted seemed to baffle those who were 
nearest him. During the singing of the first verse 
of ' God Save the Queen * (I was by this time along* 
side of him), he said, Tm with you there, gentle- 
men; I respect our Queen,' while he joined quite 
heartily in the singing of the verse. By this time the 
crowd was quite in an excited state, and anxious for 
a move, so we were jolted along the lane, when the 
cry arose 'Carry him to St Andrew's Square.' I 
immediately possessed myself of one of Mr. S.'s legs» 
and of course his other side was soon grabbed hold 



94 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

of, and we hoisted him shoulder high, so that he was 
not altogether in the hands of the enemy. We were 
compelled, however, after carrying him a few yzids, to 
let him down, as the crowd was pushing and pulling. 
At St David's Street the crush was fearful, and in- 
stead of St Andrew's Square, we were hustled down 
St. David's Street, and by sheer pressure forced up a 
few steps over an area. Here the treatment accorded 
to Mr. Schreiner was indeed shameful, the crush in 
itself being bad enough, but made worse by the pull- 
ing about by those who could get a hand on him. In 
trying to prevent some of this I was nearly choked, 
a big fellow seizing me by the throat I managed to 
tell Mr. S. that I would try and get a force of police 
(not one had as yet put in an appearance), and after 
long pushing and pulling, I managed to get out of 
the crowd (which at this time was estimated to be 
about I, coo), and ran down to Queen Street, where 
I found an officer ( ? lieutenant) of the police. I told 
him that Mr. S. was in the crowd, was getting mal- 
treated, and would likely be seriously hurt unless he 
(the officer) could procure a force of police to inter- 
fere. My statement did not appear even to interest 
him, and he gave some vague, laconic answer. Seeing 
that it would be useless for me to attempt any more 
in that direction, I made my way back to the crowd, 
which by this time was coming surging down towards 
Queen Street By dint of much pushing and shoving 
I managed to get through just as the crowd turned 
the comer of Queen Street, to find Mr. S. on the 
ground insensible ; two young men were attempting 
to keep up his body to prevent him from being 
trampled upon. I seized one arm, and between us we 
managed to carry him towards a cab. This was dff- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 95 

ficalt, as the crowd still continued to jostle, some not 
appreciating what had taken place, others not caring. 
When inside the cab, the disgraceful conduct of the 
mob still showed itself in the throwing of all sorts of 
missiles, kicking the cab, breaking the glass, holding 
the wheels, and attempting to take out the horse, 
which was luckily prevented by one or two police- 
men who at last had put in an appearance, aided by 
one or two others slightly more generous in their con- 
duct. I told the cabman to drive to the Balmoral 
Hotel, and at last he managed to drive off. A large 
part of the mob (some hundreds) ran after the cab, 
but along Princes Street they were falling behind^ 
and as Mr. Schreiner had recovered consciousness 
while on the way, he was assisted into the hotel just 
in time to prevent the mob from again seizing him, 
for several hundreds were round the hotel door within 
three minutes. They doubtless thought that Mr. S. 
would be staying there for the night, for, as they had 
missed their prey, they began to disperse again, most 
of them doubtless going back to Queen Street. 
Meanwhile, a gentleman had taken Mr. S. into his 
room, and given him some brandy. When I was 
shown into the room (I had waited to see about the 
damage done to the cab), Mr. S. had abready been 
drawn into an unprofiiable discussion on the events 
which led up to the war. I say 'unprofitable' be- 
cause neither CoL Williamson nor the doctor and 
student who had assisted Mr. S. (and had come along 
in the cab) seemed able to discuss the question from 
a broad standpoint, or in a relevant manner. Here, 
again, I was compelled to admire Mr. S. for the great 
patience and reasonableness which he showed, taking 
up all their petty charges. 



96 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

" Shortly before 9.30 p.m., the student and I accom- 
panied Mr. S. down to the Caledonian Station, Mr. S. 
wearing a hat that was generously given by CoL 
Williamson. I asked Mr. S. if he was hurt in any 
way. He said that his hat had partly saved him from 
a blow with a stick, and that his arms had been 
twisted about in the crush, but that he was not hurt 
As we had some time to wait, Mr. S. had a better 
occasion for discussion with the medical student in 
the railway carriage. I think too much praise cannot 
be given to Mr. S. for the admirable way in which he 
conducted himself right through the evening ; as he 
must have felt sick and faint for some time before he 
lost consciousness; and his having so willingly en- 
tered into discussion with those opposed to him, 
when he had scarcely recovered, and his extreme 
patience and g^ood will, could command nothing but 
admiration from anyone who was not prejudiced 
against him. 

"(Signed) THOMAS Hardie." 



Part H. 
What Occurred Inside the Hall. 

The meeting at Edinburgh was held under the 
auspices of the local Stop-the-War Committee, whose 
officers were: Mr. Theodore Napier, Chairman, Mr. 
W. D. M'Gregor, Treasurer, and Mr. Jared Reekie 
(later Mr. T. Hardie), Secretary. This Committee was 
formed on the 23rd of February, and decided to hold 
a public meeting at the earliest possible moment As 
I was to speak at Glasgow on the 6th of March, and 
had the next evening free, the Committee decided to 
hold its meeting on the 7th, and asked me to be the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 97 

principal speaker. Admission was by tickets at 6d. 
each, the disposal of which lay in the hands of the 
Committee ; and the Queen Street HaU was hired 
for the purpose. The only local body officially repre- 
sented at the meetii^ was the Trades Council, which, 
in response to an invitation from Mr. Reekie, by 
twenty-five votes to nine deputed three of their body 
to attend. The meeting of the Trades Council at 
whidi this was decided was marked by a vigorous 
denunciation of the war as a capitalists' war. The 
Social Democratic Federation and the Independent 
Labour Party of their own accord sent men to help to 
preserve order. 

Practically there was no anticipation of trouble 
until the afternoon of the 5th ; this being the case, 
the Committee did not take those excessive pre- 
cautions to saf^fuard the meeting which were found 
necessary on a subsequent occasion. But on the 5th 
the Evening Despatch (an offshoot, I am told, of the 
Scotsman) had a leading article of a most mischiev- 
ous nature. After falsely stating that I had come 
all the way from Johannesburg under the auspices 
of the Stop-the-War Committee, it proceeded: — 

*' Althouj^ the meeting is to be restricted to ticket 
holders, it is desirable that loyal people favourable to 
the British cause should also attend to express their 
iriews and combat the assertions of those who, like 
Mr. Cronwright Schreiner, defend and favour the 



>f 



' Soon it became clear that an organised attack 
would be made on the meeting by the students. In 
its account of the riot the Scotsman said: "From 
the very moment it was known that Mr. Cronwright 
Sdireiner, the leading figure at the Glasgow meeting, 



98 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

was to speak in Edinburgh, threats to wreck the 
meeting were muttered in University Student circles. 
As the day and the hour of the meeting drew nigh, 
no secret was made of the determination of the 
students to prevent the promoters of the meeting 
from carrying out their designs." 

Not only was no secret made of this, but notices 
were actually posted in the class-rooms calling upon 
students to ''attend" the meeting. Cognisant of 
the rumours that filled the air, and fearing trouble, 
Mr. Napier had written to the Chief Constable for 
a posse of police to keep order. And on the after- 
noon of the day of the meeting, having received a 
telegram from an anonymous student " Friend," that 
an organised attempt would be made by the Univer- 
sity students to ''storm the platform," he wired to 
the Chief Constable giving him the information and 
requesting him to send to the Hall a strong detach- 
ment of police. Subsequent events will show what 
this detachment amounted to and how the police did 
their duty. 

The time of the meeting was 8 o'clock, but more 
than an hour earlier than that a crowd had begun 
to collect around the front entrance. At about 7 
o'clock ticket holders b^;an to be admitted; they 
crowded in very rapidly. The students were early 
on the scene and gained entrance, coming in driblets 
and not in one mass. These early comers were 
clearly hostile and deeply resented the dose examines 
ation of their tickets. It subsequently transpired that 
a large number of tickets had been forged This 
Imperial element was composed almost entirely of 
students and young men of the middle class. A good 
numbers of sympathisers were also admitted* princi^ 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 99 

paDy Social Democratic Federation and Independent 
labour Party men, but the bulk of these came too 
late and were unable to push through the crowd. In 
less than half an hour after the opening of the doors^ 
the hall was in possession of several hundreds ot 
students and other rowdy Imperialists, whose aspect 
and demeanour were so threatening, while the huge 
crowd outside (nearly all non-ticket holders) were 
so violent in their endeavours to rush the Hall that 
it was decided to close and barricade the door. This 
was done forthwith, but with great difficulty, for 
an organised body had now got up to it determined 
upon mischief. At this time there were six police* 
men assisting the stewards at the door. Prior to the 
closing and barricading of the outer door, the well- 
known Academical and International football player, 
Mr. W. McEwan, who was at the time a Yeomanry 
Sharpshooter under orders for the Front, had forced 
his way ia He is a man of huge physical propor- 
tions and immense strength. He had, however, not 
got into the hall, and was now a prisoner between 
the outer and inner doors, where he was kept a long 
time, not having a ticket of admission. Here he 
conducted himself like a madman, yelling to the 
organised wreckers outside, who appeared to look 
to him as their leader, to burst open the door. In 
response to his shouts, they redoubled their exer* 
tions, making the door give ominously. McEwan 
vowed vengeance upon all "pro-Boers" in the most 
violent manner, especially threatenii^ to murder Mr. 
Napier and mjrseliF. His language became so out- 
rageous that Mr. J. H. Smith, who was head steward 
at the door, threatened him with arrest, when he 
quieted down somewhat Soon afterwards Mr. Smith 

H a 



15T461A 



100 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

left the spot where McEwan was, and went away 
for a few minutes to see about protecting the area 
door, which was beii^ violently assaulted When be 
got back, McEwan was gone. He had been unwisely 
allowed to enter the hall, in the hope that, if he were 
let in, the crowd outside, not hearing his voice, would 
become quieter and not try to break in so strenuously, 
and that, if their incessant clamour for him were 
acceded to, the Imperialists inside would make less 
noise. 

When the doors were dosed the upper galleries 
were practically empty, the lower galleries about half 
filled, and the area about full Quite three-fourths 
of the audience were students, whose bulging pockets 
indicated that they were well supplied with missiles, 
while there were momentary glimpses of gaudy flags 
concealed beneath their jacket3. Some of these Im* 
perialists bore on their jackets and caps and faces 
marks of the colour bags which already had been 
pretty freely thrown about in the vicinity of the 
entrance door. They were making an tuiearthly din 
and standing on the seats waving numerous Union 
Jacks. 

At this stage, Mr. Keir Hardie, seeing that only a 
very small minority in the hall were there legitimately 
or for a pacific purpose, advised the Committee to 
abandon the meeting. This, however, they would not 
do, so Mr. Keir Hardie went on to the platform and 
tried to obtain a hearing. Admitting that the Im- 
perialists were masters of the situation, he appealed 
to their love of fair play and asked them to give me 
a hearing and heckle me to their heart's content 
afterwards. (Neither he nor the Committee knew 
what had become of me.) He addressed them with 



a 



»^ » 



* 



I . jjj - ' 







THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. loi 

a self-restraint and courtesy that were most admirable 
considering the circmnstance*:. But it was of no use. 
He was insulted and roared at and assailed with 
missiles. He tried amidst a gpreat din to make his 
attitude clear by describing Walter Crane's fine car- 
toon which was hanging over the edge of the plat- 
form. As he turned for a moment to speak to a 
colleague on the platform* one of the Imperialists 
sitting near snatched the cartoon, which in a moment 
was torn into a thousand shreds. At once the half 
dozen policemen who had been standing irresolutely 
in a bunch near the door, apparently without a 
superior to direct them, rushed at McEwan, although 
he does not seem to have been the man who des- 
troyed the cartooa McEwan escaped by dodging 
about the seats while his brother Imperialists faced 
the pohce with raised sticks. The police drew their 
batons, and an ugly fight seemed imminent 

But at this moment the chairman and the others 
with him appeared on the platform. This served 
to make a timely diversion, which enabled the police 
to retire gracefully from a very unequal contest Mr. 
Keir Hardie then explained that the doors were barri- 
caded, and that I could not get in, but he proposed 
to proceed with the meeting until I arrived. 

Mr. McGregor having taken the chair, Mr. Napier, 
who was in full Highland costume, after vainly en- 
deavouring to say a few words, read the resolution 
amidst a tremendous uproar which made it inaudible 
even at the reporters' table. Bells were rung, bugles 
and whistles were btown, shouts and cheers^ interrup- 
tions and soc^ went up, and missiles, at this stage 
chiefly potatoes and padcets of colour-powders^ were 
thrown. 



IQ2 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECHL 

The resolution was as follows: — ^"That this meet* 
ing of Edinburgh citizens regards the present war 
in South Africa as being in its origin unjustifiable, 
and as having been forced on the South African Rer 
publics by the action of Her Majesty's Government ; 
and this meeting considers that negotiations ought 
forthwith to be initiated with a view to an early, 
lasting and honourable peace.'' 

As soon as this was read, Mr. Keir Hardie, seeing 
that it was quite impossible for anyone to obtain a 
hearing, wisely took it upon himself to declare the 
meeting at an end. 

Then ensued what even the Scotsman, anxious to 
minimise the seriousness of the riot, described as 
"one of the wildest and most disorderly scenes that 
has ever been enacted in an Edinburgh public meet- 
ing." A bugle blew, evidently a concerted signal, 
whereupon the Imperialists sprang forward in a mass 
with wild shouts, and leaping the seats, rushed for- 
ward over the reporters' tables, well nigh burying 
the reporters as they stormed the platform. A 
couple of revolver shots were fired, and missiles of 
every description, both dangerous and offensive, were 
hurled.* Soon all on the stage were dyed with 
various colours, chiefly black, so as in some cases to 
be scarcely recognisable. The assault of the Im- 
perialists was gallantly met by about a dozen young 
men on the platform who, though enormously out- 
numbered, valiantly held the assaulting party at bay 
for a few minutes while the ladies and the older 

gentlemen were hurried off the platform into one 

~ i- ■ ■ - - — L^^— 

* At one of my meetings, I am not sure which, a dead cat 
was hurled about, which, with a wit that almost redeemed the 
offence, was styled ^ Long Tom," after the Boers* great gun. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 103 

of the side rooms. Seizing the chairs, the defen- 
dants gave battle to the Imperialists, who, confident 
in their annaments and infinite superiority of num- 
bers, rushed on in a mass with a vehemence that was 
irresistible. 

** There followed for a few minutes," wrote an eye- 
witness on the platform to the local Press, '' the most 
terrible combat perhaps which has ever been wit- 
nessed anywhere except on a field of battle. It was 
well that the ladies had got clear, or they would 
almost certainly have been crushed or trampled to 
death. Sticks, chairs, anything that could be 
wielded, were used both for offence and defence, 
whilst every sort of missile, amongst others packets 
of dry paint, were fired at the platform firom the rear 
<rf the attacking force." 

The Evening Despatch, friendly to the students, 
says: — "A simultaneous assault was made by the 
front ranks on to the dais. The platform men at 
once adopted active measures of defence, if not of 
defiance. The students, with the agility of cats, 
however, sprang up to the platform and threw them- 
selves on the garrison. In a second they smashed 
to pieces the chairs that were held up by the peace- 
ful men to ward off the foe. The mel^e became 
fierce and hot, each piece of furniture broken off 
being seized and used with evident effect" The 
Despatch proceeds to teU of the knock-down blows 
that were delivered' by the "five policemen who rushed 
up with drawn batons, and, among other incidents, 
c^ the student who had his temples badly gashed and 
was taken to the Infirmary. 

The Scotsman gives the following account : — " Mr. 
Keir Hardie's last words were not well out of his 



104 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

mouth before violent blows were being exchanged on 
the edge of the platform. In far less time than it 
takes to tell, an ugly free fight was in progress in 
the immediate vicinity of the Chairman's table. The 
reporters who were seated at the table in front of 
the platform suddenly found themselves practically 
buried in the onrush of the students. The table 
was upset, note books, hats, sticks and overcoats were 
scattered hither and thither. Still the students came 
on, swarming on to the plaJtform in scores. In the 
mel£e the Chairman's table was hurled off the plat* 
form into the area of the hall» the platform chairs, 
and even the trestles of the reporters' table, were laid 
hold of and used as weapons of offence and defence, 
the platform and all the people upon it formed a 
target for scores of bags of paint discharged from 
the body of the hall, and hand to hand encounters 
were in progress all over the platform. ... In 
the hubbub a couple of pistol shots were fired — 
presumably with blank cartridge — ^and with half a 
dozen policemen struggling in the midst of at least 
150 excited students on or about the platform, there 
was no saying at one time how the affair would end" 

The Evening News, after describing the " alarming 
scene," says: — ^"Eventually the platform personages 
managed to slip away, and the mob was left with the 
police in possession. Chairs were smashed, forms 
damaged, and amid the scene of wreckage the stu- 
dents waved their flags and sang." 

If nothing was more shameful than the cowardly 
attack upon Mr. Napier, nothing was more splendid 
than the physical prowess and dauntless bravery of 
this fine old Highland gentleman, fifty-five years old 
When the students rushed the platform, ISx. Napier 



i 



3~^TTl2Vf YORK ! 

' fubIic ubha-bt 



THEODORE N 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. los 

advanced to the edge^ with his targe on his left 
arm and a stout stick in his right hand» and met them 
in the most dauntless manner. It is scarcely credible^ 
but it is true, that this old gentleman was set upon 
with* the utmost brutaUty by as many students as 
cpuld get at him. But he was a magnificent fighter, 
and deftly catching many blows on his targe, he 
dealt knock-down blows in his turn and held his own 
in an extraordinary way. Struck at viciotisly from 
all directions, and half dazed by a blow from a chair» 
he continued the unequal struggle until he was 
struck down from behind by a blow over the head 
from a trestle taken from the reporters' table. He 
had been struck on both sides of the head and 
so brought down, when, like a hero of Chevy 
Chase, half stunned, besmirched with paint, bare- 
headed, with blood streaming down his face 
from a cut above the eye, but grand and un- 
conquerable, he continued to fight on his knees until 
he eventually regained his feet A man to be proud 
of. But what shall be said of the Imperialist student 
who, in the vigour of young manhood, struck from 
behind and with a trestle a man of fifty-five already 
fighting against overwhelming odds? All who 
attacked Mr. Napier were cowards, but surely this 
creature that struck him with the trestle was the 
coward of the cowards. Let his name go down to 
posterity— WiUiam Frederick Brayne. medical 
student 

Mr. Napier himself gives the following account : — 
*' When I saw what was on hand, I rose to my feet, 
grasped my taige and stick and rushed to the front 
to meet the foe. A regular mel^ now ensued wtuch 
baffles description. Some of the few members of the 



io6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Committee who had sticks used them to defend the 
platform against its invaders ; and I found my targe 
of good service in thrusting back some of our over- 
whelming opponents. Chairs and tables were 
knocked about in aU directions ; and at last I found 
myself floored by a blow from behind, having been 
struck on both sides of my head with a wooden 
trestle of the reporters' table, and knocked down 
upon my knees. I quickly regained my feet and 
again attacked our cowardly foes (not one of whom 
dared meet me face to face); but by this time the 
police fortunately had mounted the platform and 
stopped the strife. I requested the police to arrest 
all the fellows who had illeg^ly rushed the platform, 
and was informed that two or three had been 
arrested, including the one who had assaulted me. 
The rest of the Committee having taken refuge 
in a side room, I was, most unwillingly, constrained 
to join them until the mob had left the hall. The 
injuries I myself received were bruises on both sides 
of my head, a slight cut over my right eye, from 
which blood oozed, and abrasions on the nose and 
knee ; but none of them of a serious nature. They 
only acted as a sptir to fight the cowardly wretches, 
and to drive them off the platform ; but seeing they 
had about 200 to our dozen and the police had inter- 
vened, that could not have been accomplished The 
students retained possession of the platform for a 
short time waving Union Jacks (as though the Union 
Jack was not disgraced by such abominable conduct), 
and singing Rule Britannia, etc, after which they 
were induced by the police to withdraw.'* 

It was not until three quarters of an hour after the 
break up of the meeting that the Committee mem- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 107 

t)ers were enabled to get away, and then only by 
the back entrance after the police had cleared the 
lane and drawn a cordon across it About fifteen 
minutes later Mr. Napier was got quietly out Accom- 
panied by two plain clothes policemen he was got 
into a cab which had been arranged for at the end 
of Hanover Street and driven home. He was the 
last to leave. He was confined to his bed all next 
«day, in a very disfigured and bruised but absolutely 
nmdaunted condition. 

After the meeting a couple of students, speaking 
for the violent section, said they had come there 
to break ^ that damned Dutchman Schreiner's head/' 
^and to collar trophies from the other speakers in the 
form of neckties and other articles of apparel, and 
especially Mr. Napiei^s kilt Indeed Mr. Napier only 
preserved his kilt by his good fighting, but he lost 
his bonnet with medal and clasp (subsequently re- 
turned to him), and Mr. M'Gregor lost his hat. 

^ When the platform had been captured," says the 
Evening Despatch, " a rush was made for the door^ 
■^Varsity ' being the call to arms. Exit was well nigh 
an impossibility ; an immense crowd stood rows deep 
outside, both in front and rear. Eventually, how- 
^ever, the hall was cleared." 

The Despatch reporter, visiting the area of the hall 
next morning, found *a number of potatoes, a tin 
kettle, a small lead pellet, and other articles." 

William Brown, an Edonian, wrote to the Press : — 
"These political swell mobsmen would not have 
'Stopped short of murder, had they had their way, for 
I m3rself heard them crying, ' KiU them, kill them ' — 
truly worthy followers of those who 1,867 years ago 
touted, ' Crucify Him, crucify Him." " 



io8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

''The interior of the hall»'' says the Evening 
News, "showed many indications of the mel6e that 
had taken place. The stage was littered with mis- 
siles and ochre, and chairs, tables, and forms were 
more or less in a wrecked condition In the coarse 
of conversation, Bailie Brown said that so great was 
the disorder that it bordered on the stage when the 
reading of the Riot Act would have been necessary/^ 

"The interior of the hall," says the Scotsman^, 
"bore traces of the treatment to which it had been 
subjected. On the platform broken chairs were* 
everywhere ; the tin sheathing of the footlights was 
smashed in several places, and the seats in the area 
of the hall were disarranged, covered in many places 
with ochre, and generally in a dilapidated condition. 
Amongst the missiles that had been used were 
onions, buns, and oranges, and these were plenti- 
fully littered about the stage.*' 

Part HI. 

OuTsroE THE Hall; the Police; the Local. 

Authorities. 

Outside the hall a scarcely less remarkable scene 
was enacted By the time the door was closed, as^ 
it was found impossible to prevent non-ticket holders- 
from forcing themselves in, the crowd ahready num- 
bered," says the Scotsman, "at least two thousand. 
"The scene that ensued," continues that paper, 'l^affles. 
description, and never since Queen Street Hall was 
erected has it been the centre of such a demonstra- 
tion. Time and again the crowd, headed by the 
students, rushed the steps leading up to the entrance, 
and as often were they hurled back at the united 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 109 

efforts of the police and their colleagues/' (These 
were the Social Democratic Federation and Inde- 
pendent Labour Party men, without whose help the 
hall would certainly have been stormed and people 
probably killed ; so inadequate were the poUce.) "A 
number of Yeomanry Sharpshooters were now 
amongst those whose determined efforts to oust the 
constables threatened at every minute destruction 
to the door of the hall» and their weight, added to that 
of several members of the University Fifteen who 
were in front, proved such an assistance to the 
attacking party that it was well for the policemen 
that they received reinforcements about this point." 

The Evening News gives some further particu- 
lars: — "There was a great crowd outside the haB 
in Queen Street, a shouting, boisterous mob bent 
on mischief. Probably the numbers would not be 
under 5,000,* and though the student element supplied 
the ruling spirits^ there was a big admixture of young 
men of other classes, whose sympathies were plainly 
with the hot-headed University men. . . . The ^ 

crowd wanted a victim, and Mr. Theodore Napier 
was their preference. Every now and then the cry 
would go up, 'Where is Napier?* 'Let us have 
Napier, and as periodically the shout would come, 
' Napier is at the back.' A rush was made towards 
the lane at the back of the halL The scene was a 
most extraordinary one, and it is not the least an 
exaggeration to say that had the crowd got hold of 
Mr. Napier, 'the rebel,' there would have been a 
frightful mel6e and the patriot would have had some 

• * A larger crowd, it is said, than that which swarmed 
acouad Mr. Gladstone on his visit following the death of 
General Gordon. 



no THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

rough handling. However, when the crowd could 
not get Mr. Napier they shouted for the release of 
the three men who had been taken prisoners inside 
the hall, one of whom was understood to be W. 
McEwan, the Academical and International football 
player * Shouts ' To the rescue ' were frequent, but, 
in this instance, discretion prevailed, and no such 
desperate movement was made. 

''After more than an hour of these more or less 
rowdy proceedings. Bailie Brown appeared on the 
steps of the hall entrance, and silence having been 
obtained, he was heard, amid occasional interruption, 
asking the crowd to disperse, and the three men in 
custody inside would be released. The sincerity of 
the Bailie's statement was doubted, and there were 
shouts of 'Produce the prisoners and we will go,' 
but the prisoners were not forthcoming for a con- 
siderable time yet, and in the interval the policemen 
g^uarding the door were kept lively with a bombard- 
ment of squibs and crackers. Two of the prisoners 
were ultimately released, and then the uproar was re- 
newed, the students demanding to know where 
McEwan was. Bailie Brown declared McEwan was 
away and the crowd cheered their loudest" 

Ajid so it went on, the crowd gradually dispersing. 
It had crowded around all the entrances and 
swarmed in Queen Street, North St David Street, 
and the lane at the back of the hall. Some time 
after the crowd was satisfied that the hall was empty 
and Mr. Napier and others away, it broke up, and 
parties of students and others paraded the streets, 
singing and shouting. A number of them attacked 

* Mr. J. H. Smith informs me diat only two were tempor- 
arily arrested, and that McEwan was not one of them. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. in 

the shop in George Street occupied by Mr. M'Gregor^ 
tore down a part of the door and defaced the 
front with a Uberal use of ochre. 

The crowd was composed ahnost entirely of the 
" gentry " class. There was a remarkable and most 
honourable absence of the working-man element 
My own observations on this point are supported by 
those of numerous others. Mr. J. H. Smith, in his 
letter reporting the affair to Sir H. Campbell Banner- 
man, says : — " These non-ticket holders and the dis- 
turbers of the peace who had obtained tickets were 
all well-dressed rowdies of the middle classes — 
students, lawyers, men of the clubs, in fact, the sort 
of men who are weU known in Edinburgh as forming 
the clientele of the Despatch, The working-men 
present were quiet and orderly, and many assisted 
the stewards and police in keeping peace." There 
is, in fact, ample evidence to show that this was not 
a "working men's" crowd, but a well-dressed mob 
of " gentry.'* There is no evidence against it Those 
who assaulted the platform and wrecked the meeting 
were practically without exception " gentlemen," the 
student element being predominant and leading in 
the riot At the meeting of the Town Council next 
day, one legal gentleman roundly asserted that not 
only was the student element in the crowd out- 
numbered by men in offices, but that actively aiding 
and abetting were a good many heads of law busi- 
nesses. We have seen that Yeomanry Sharpshooters 
under orders for the Front took a prominent part. 
At least two members of the magisterial bench were 
among the crowd outside the hall, one of whom had 
a ticket but was prevented, like many others, from 
entering the hall by the enforced closing of the 



112 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

doors; the other actually harangued the mob, de- 
claring that he was with them ''heart and souL" 
And we have seen that a large number of tidcets 
must have been forged — an Imperialist method ot 
which I had considerable experience. 

The police were most remiss in their duty. 
Although the Chief Constable had been informed 
that an organised attempt was to be made to wreck 
the meeting, storm the platform, and attack the 
speakers, and although he had been specially re- 
quested by the chairman to make special provision, 
yet until the riot was nearly over, there were not at 
any time more than thirty police all told within and 
without the building. But for the aid of the stewards 
and volunteers from the working men, the hall would 
have been successfully stormed and scenes enacted 
which one does not like to dwell upoa I myself 
was carried off in sight of two policemen and mauled 
for an hour with perfect impunity to the mob. They 
refused to come to my assistance when Mr. T. 
Hardie told them of the serious situation I was in. 
As one correspondent says, " They seemed to enjoy 
the joke as well as some casual on-lookers ;" another 
says : " It seems the police were on the side of the 
law breakers.'' The Scotsman says: ''It is but fair 
to say (of the police) that during the whole pro- 
ceedings they were very forbearing in their treat- 
ment of the ringleaders in the rushes;" and the 
Despatch speaks eulogistically of "the most cordial 
relations subsisting between police and people," add- 
ing that " the police, though severely crushed in the 
frequent rushes, received numerous cheers. The 
Evening News commenting upon Bailie Brown's 
eulogy of "the forbearance shown by the police 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 113 

throughout the whole affair/* says: — ^^We are also 
told of the noble efforts made by Acting Chief Con- 
stable Chisholm and Superintendent Moyes. These 
gentlemen's efforts were entirely successfuL So suc- 
cessfully did Messrs. Chishohn and Moyes restrain 
their men that the riot would have been no worse had 
no police been present at alL" 

An interesting incident will serve to show^ to some 
extent, the ''cordial relations subsisting between 
police and people." A perfectly trustworthy corre- 
spondent» with a personal knowledge of the facts, 
writes as follows : — *' One incident that took place in- 
side the Queen Street Hall after most of the scrim- 
mages had occurred was not reported in the papers. 
It seems a collection was being taken up by the 
students to give the police, doubtless because of their 
policy of non-resistance. It had only got round to a 
few, however, when a tall strong Glasgow Indepen- 
dent Labour Party man, seeing it coming his way 
(it was_ being taken up in a hat), strode over, and, 
emptying the contents into his pocket, told those 
who noticed him that he was the man to look after 
the money. The sequel is as follows. The collec- 
tion at that stage amounted to 14s. /d. This sum 
was forwarded by the Glasgow Independent Labour 
Party with a long letter to the Edinburgh Chie^ 
Constable, asking whether such ^ thing was lawful 
or permissible. No more was heard of it for some 
weeks, when one day an official made his appearance 
at the Glasgow Independent Labour Party rooms^ 
and tabling 14s. 7d, asked for a receipt from the 
secretary. The secretary told him he had no right to 
give a receipt for what was not theirs. The official, 
however, went off, leaving the money on the table ; 

I 



114 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

and it is a matter for satisfactory contemplation that 
the money meant as a tip to the ' Bobbies/ has been 
used in the printing and distribution of Stop-the-War 
leaflets." 

With regard to the police arrangements, the same 
correspondent writes: — ^"Regarding the police 
arrangements for the meeting in Queen Street Hall, 
it is not too much to say that they were scandalous, 
and that the action of the bulk of those who were 
either inside or outside the hall quite entitled them to 
the collection that the students began to make inside 
the hall on their behalf. Early on the day of the meet- 
ing, the acting Chief Constable was communicated 
with (over and above the intimation they had re- 
ceived some days previously), and it was intimated 
to him on good authority that there was a thoroughly 
organised plan to break up the meeting. He also 
received warning from ther individual members of 
the Committee, but, notwithstanding all this, the 
total number of police outside the hall while the 
riot was going on did not exceed twenty. This is 
taking in those at the back and front of the hall, as 
well as those at St David Street while Mr. Schreiner 
was being taken along there by the mob, and is 
given by a number of persons who were at these 
different places. I believe that in the report fur- 
nished to the Town Council by the ma^strates (I 
saw a copy of it myself, though I don't remember the 
exact figures), the police authorities were credited 
with having had a force of about 200 constables at 
the halL This is quite true, I believe ; I got it from 
a policeman I happen to know, and who is on the 
night shift which comes on at 10 p.m. (meeting at 
the police office at about 9.45 p.m.), that a large 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 115 

immber of policemen (he being one of them) were 
mardied down to the hall at that time, about 10 p.m. 
Thexe could have been no reason for this other than 
that of having them there merely for the purpose of 
beix^ able to report that thai number were at the 
hall on the night of the riot, leaving the public to 
infer that they were there while the riot vras pro* 
oeeding, and that therefore the police could not be 
blamed as they had made ample provision as regards 
numbers against disturbance." 

That even those present failed in their duty is 
manifest Where many students and others, per^ 
fectly conspicuous in their violent riotous action, 
shoidd have been arrested and severely punished, it 
seems that not more than four were arrested, 
of whom three were released at once, while the fourth 
was only prosecuted because Mr. Napier rightly con* 
tidered it his duty to insist upon it, though at the 
same time willing to withdraw the charge if an apology 
were forthcoming. Brayne was brought before 
Sheriff Maconochie in the City Police Court, and his 
cowardly attack upon Mr. Napier clearly proved, no 
witnesses being called for the defence. In giving 
judgment, Sheriff Maconochie said this was " a very 
trifling case ; it was a case which he looked upon as 
on any other police case brought before him where a 
fine of I OS. or seven days would be inflicted He 
therefore imposed that punishment now." This de- 
cision was received with applause in court, and Mr. 
Napier was escorted out by the police by a back 
stair to escape the large crowd waiting for him out- 
side. Contrast this justice with the case of a work- 
ing man at my Aberdeen meeting in May, who was 
trying to prevent the hall being wrecked by a mob 

la 



ii6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

of 30,ooo» and who struck with his fist a student 
who assaulted hint He was fined 30s. One law 
for the working man preserving order, another for 
the petted University law-breaking cad. Contrast 
this British justice with that notorious case in the 
South African Republic when Mr. Theron^ an 
attorney, struck Mr. Monypenny, the editor of the 
Star, Johannesburg. Mr. Monypenny was editing 
•one bf the most seditious and violent capitalist 
papers in the Republic, which was advocating the 
overthrow of the Republic by Great Britaia Mr. 
Monypenny said "the time for action has arrived" 
Mr. Theron came and took action, striking Mr. Mony* 
penny with his fist, doing him no harm beyond break- 
ing his glasses. Mr. Monypenny, showing the white 
feather, as such men are wont to do, shouted for 
Boer policemen, who at once came to his aid and 
arrested Mr. Theron, who was forthwith tried before 
the ''Boer" magistrate of Johannesbiug and fined 

£2$. 

The Lord Advocate, when approached on the 
matter of the riot, refused to move at alL Sir 
William Muir, LL.D., Principal of the University of 
Edinburgh, when appealed to regarding the be- 
haviour of the students, and requested to use his 
powerful influence, also refused to move in any way 
whatever. And the Lord Provost did his utmost, 
with complete success, to stop any inquiry.* 

Thus inquiry was stopped in every direction, 
and one of the most disgraceful scenes ever known in 
Edinburgh condoned, while the aegis of some of the 

* See the report of the proceedings of the Edinburgh 
Town Council on the X3th March. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 117 

most powerful in the land was thrown over the 
offenders. 

The city, though disclaiming liability, paid for all 
damage to property, namely, for damage inside the 
hall, to the railings in North St David Street, to the 
cab in which I was carried off, and to Mr. M'Gregor's 
house. 

One prominent man at least, and one local paper, 
spoke out splendidly against these disgraceful pro- 
ceedings. Mr. Thomas Shaw, Q.C., M.P., addressed 
a letter to the secretary of the meeting; which was 
published. It was a letter worthy the best tradi- 
tions of Scottish Liberalism and Freedom. *• Free- 
dom of speech," said Mr. Shaw, " is a travesty when 
it means, not freedom to speak what you please, but 
what others do not disapprove. I care not whether 
the freedom be suppressed by central or local 
authority, active or supine, or by the brutality of the 
mob — such suppression must stand condemned by 
every lover of his country." 

The Edinburgh Evening News, edited by Mr, 
Hector Macpherson, did magnificent work. Few 
papers in England or Scotland did better work than 
Mr. Macpherson's Evening News. On the day after 
the meeting it wrote as follows: — 

" In Edinburgh last night there broke but a fierce 
epidemic of Yahooism. As usual, the epidemic began 
with the students, whose instincts lead them naturally 
to fall victims to delirious diabolism. Edinburgh has 
tolerated much at the hands of the students. They have 
abeady had a licence for rowdyism, but at the peace 
meeting in Queen Street Hall last night, rowdyism 
degenerated into sheer blackguardism. Every decent 
citizen who reads of the disgraceful conduct of the 



Ii8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

moht especially their cowardly and brutal treatment 
of Mr. Schreiner, will blush deep for the fame of 
Edinburgh. We do not lay the blame upon the 
students as a whole. Among them are many who 
will feel deep humiliation as they read of the doings 
of their fellows. If the cultured rowdies of the Uni* 
versity can excel so highly in the matter of black* 
guardism, what would they be like if they were 
steeped in the ignorance of the loafer and the slum 
dweller ? And yet who knows but that the ignoramus 
of the slum has an advantage. He» at least, by virtue 
of his ignorance, is cut off from one source of deprav* 
ity, namely, the Jingo Press of Edinburgh, with its 
glorification of war as apart from right or wrong, and 
its veiled approval of conduct of which a band of 
lunatics would be ashamed. The mockery of it all 
is that we are at war because the Boers would not 
allow free speech in the Transvaal Why, in the 
capital of Scotland, the city of light and leading, 
citizens cannot get free ^>eecL The Uitlanders, on 
whose bdialf we are at war, had more freed(»n ot 
speech than Scotsmen have to-day in their own 
capital Had a scene like that of last night been 
enacted in Johannesbwg, war would have been the 
result, apart from all questions of franchise grievance. 
Jingo editors would have shouted themselves hoarse 
on behalf of free q>eech. The Jingo mind is a 
curious compound of rant and can^ of humbug and 
hypocrisy." 

In other articles this paper, referring to the ** band 
of irresponsible sons ci Belial, flown, as Milton would 
say, widi insolence and wine," says : '* The lamfcntabk 
tiling is not so much the riot as the veiled approval 
of iic Tory principle of despotic intolerance which 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 119 

made the riot possible/' And referring to "the 
horseplay of the cultured youth from the Conservative 
Club and the University/' it truly remarks that " had 
the workmen of Edinburgh broken up a Unionist 
meeting and maltreated a Tory speaker from a dis- 
tance, the cells would have been &Ued with rioters, 
and the Lord Provost would have publicly expressed 
his sorrow that a visitor to a city of light and leading 
bad been subjected to ill-treatment'' 



CHAPTER IX. 

DUNDEE, 8th march. 

Part I. 
Arrangements for the Meeting. 

Before leaving South Africa, I had read a pamphlet, 
The Briton and the Boer. An appeal from 
Philip Drunk to Philip Sober, by the Rev. Mr. Walter 
Walsh, chief Unitarian Minister of Dundee, who had 
seen the truth of the South African situation all along, 
and begun his protest and endeavour to enlighten 
public opinion before the war broke out As early as 
October 5th, 1899, ^ peace meeting was held at 
Dundee, in which he was the moving spirit. On the 
morning of that day, the foUowii^ notice was posted 
on the wall opposite a weaving factory which em- 
ployed many thousands of workers : 

" BOER 
WALSH 

XM TRB 

GILFILLAN HALL 
Thursday 

AT 

8 o'clock 
EGGS! 

AND OTHER AMMUNITION!" 

Yet the meeting was held and addressed by Mr. 
Walsh and Councillor Scrymgeour, and the peace 

( "o ) 



v 



/ 






*-• 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. I3i 

(resolution carried after much interruptioiL From 
that day to this, Mr. Walsh, though enduring loss 
and suffering, has persisted in his gallant fight 

Hearing I was coming north, Mr. Walsh asked 
me to speak at Dundee, and placed GilfiUan Hall 
at my disposal As pastor of the Unitarian Con- 
gregation, he is in charge of this fine hall, which he 
wisely uses for all meetings that he considers 
likely to conduce to moral ends. 

I arrived in Dundee late on the afternoon of the 
8th March and drove up to Mr. Walshes residence^ 
4, Nelson Terrace, Bonnybank Road 

The meeting I found was in no sense private, 
but was a public meeting convened by a committee 
of citizens, of which Mr. Walsh was chairman. Its 
object was to consider "The Position of Affairs in 
South Africa."* Every step was taken to make the 
meeting as public and representative as possible. 
Not only was it thoroughly advertised in the local 
Press, but sandwich men were engs^ed to parade 
the principal streets with large boards most of the 
day, and during the afternoon men were busily 
engaged handing out bills of advertisement This 
was somewhat daring, for it was clear that I had 
become a storm centre. True, the tornado of which 
I was the centre was only two days old Before 
that there had been ominous mutterings, but the real 
fury of the storm — crescens eundo — began at Glas- 

* The resolution which was to have been submitted, had 
the meeting been held, was as follows : '^ That this meeting 
condemns war as a brutal method of settling disputes: be* 
lieves that the present war might have been avoided by a 
wise diplomacy ; and asks that the matter in dispute between 
this country and the South African Republics should be 
brought to arbitration at the earliest possible moment." 



122 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

gow, and was only in full Uast at Edinbiixg^ the 
night before. It swept down on Dundee befote 
those interested in the holding of the meeting fully 
recognised its velocity and fury. 

The pronu)ters of the meeting were not the only 
]3eople desirous of having a crowded meeting. There 
were other and hostile forces diligently at work. 

Those opposed to the meeting had absolutely no 
justification for what they were preparing to dOt 
for, when the promoters advertised the meeting, 
they particularly intimated that questions would be 
invited, and it had been arranged that Mr. Walsh, 
as Chairman, was to announce at the opening of 
the meeting that every opportunity would be given 
for the moving of an amendment to the original 
resolution. 

Notwithstanding this, a section of the Imperial* 
ists were deliberately and elaborately preparing to 
wreck the meeting and assault the speakers, the 
chief of whom were Mr. Keir Hardier Mr. Walsh, 
and myself. 

The students as usual, were to the forefront in 
the disgtaceful proceedings. On the morning of the 
day of the meeting the following notice was posted 
in University Colleges — 

««PRO.BOER MEETING 1 
RALLY ! 

TAKE ALL YOUR UTENSILS WITH YOU!"* 

* A man present at the meeting, and in a position to know, 
writes to me: ''They camer provided with fireworks, small 
cannon, hammers, tin dishes, and other means of rzisinf 
pandemonium generally. Had thev carried through their 
programme, the chances are that me building would have 
been set on fire, and that los»4>f life would have ensued.* 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 123 

It is hardfy possible that this could have been tm- 

Imown to the Professors, But the Professors of the 

Scotch Universities seem to be as low grade, where 

political prejudice is concerned, as the students. 

"Like master, like men.'' 

Preparations, however, were not confined to the 
students of University College. Those of St 
Andrews were determined that the sister University 
should not have a monopoly of a manifestation of 
the Imperialistic spirit A large number of these 
students came in by train, and desperately and per- 
haps successfully vied with those of University Col* 
lege in proving which least resembled men and 
^gentlemen. They had a fair opportunity of de- 
feating the object of the meeting like gentlemen; 
ithey preferred a lower method. 

Neither public nor private meetings are sacred 
irom these wreckers of their countr/s honour. It 
is terrible to contemplate a nation whose yout^ men 
are so devoid of the love of freedom. On the Con- 
tinent, students lead the advanced movements^ as 
might be expected of young men full of high and 
:generous ideals; in Scotland, students lead the re* 
actionary movements and drunken mobs. No fact 
•could show more pertinently and sadly the decad- 
ence of this great race. 

The i»omoters of the meetu^, knowing what had 
\)ecn done by the Imperialists elsewhere and anxious 
to avoid a riot, applied early in the day for the 
services of a body of police. The audx>rities sent 
about thirty to the meeting, who were in attendance 
from 7 p.m. onwards. This force was most inade- 
•quate, as the authorities might easily have surmised, 
'bearing in mind what had just occurred in Glasgow 



124 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

and Edinbuigh. But for the prompt abandonment 
of the meeting, very serious consequences must in- 
evitably have followed A hundred police or more 
should have been in attendance. At the head of 
such a number, a determined man could have held 
the Imperialists within the hall in abject subjection ; 
for such mobs are cowardly. I am confident that 
one hundred "Zarps" (South African RepubEc 
police) would have had perfect order. Great Britam 
has much to learn from the Transvaal : among other 
things, how to protect freedom of speech at trying 
times.* 

It was annotmced that the doors would be open 
at 7.30, but by 7 o'clock a considerable crowd had 
assembled in front of the hall at the foot of White- 
hall Street, among them a large gang of yotmg men 
laden with various missiles. The audience were 
admitted in single file, the police having great diffi- 
culty in holding the rush in check and maintaining 
the entrance. The area of the hall quickly filled, 
the students from University College and St 

* The South African Republic did this in a time of greater 
stress than England has been in. Not long before the war, 
a public meeting, convened in Johannesburg by die agitators 
who were seeking to overthrow the Republic, was broken up 
by some enraged burghers, when the authorities had been 
asked not to make special provision for police attendance. 
The matter was reported to the Republican authorities, with 
the result that, a short time after, anodier similar meeting 
was held. The authorities, having promised to protect it, 
sent out special notices far and wide, warning all not in 
sympathy with the meeting to stay awav, and further had a 
large body of police in attendance, and a larger body close 
by in reserve. Consequentiv, the meeting was held in per- 
fect order, and resolutions hostile to the Government were 
passed by aliens. Great Britain knew no such order and 
needom during my visit. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 13$ 

I 

Andrews occupying one section of the hall while 
other bodies of young men occupied other parts. 
Then the galleries were thrown open, and the crowd 
poured in and filled them at once. By 7.30 the 
building was crowded in every part Then the 
police closed and guarded the doors. The rush ot 
people down Whitehall Street continued, but as the 
police would admit no morie, the crowd tried the 
back entrances from Dock Street without success. 
Still the crowd inaeased, and, though tmable to get 
into the hall, would not move away, but remained 
jammed round the entrance. There they waited 
until the meeting was over, when, joining those 
from inside, they paraded the streets and assaulted 
Mr. Walsh's house, as will be related presently. 

"Meanwhile," says the Dundee Advertiser^ "the 
scene within the hall was of an extraordinary char- 
acter, and fairly outrivalled anything seen at a public 
meeting in Dundee for a long time." "Some- 
thing worse than horseplay," says even the vio- 
lent Tory Evening Dispatch^ of Edinburgh. There 
was first great groaning and shouting and singing 
("Soldiers of the Queen" and other "patriotic" 
songs) and waving of Union Jacks. Then a stone 
was thrown, which struck the chairman's table with 
considerable force. After which a young man with 
a poster announcing "Joubert's defeat" rushed on 
to the platform and t^ried to fix it on top of the 
pillar of the stairway; then, following a suggestion 
shouted to him by one of the audience, he walked 
to the middle of the platform and hung it over the 
front of the chairman's table. There, seeing the 
water put for the speakers, he seized it, and, amid 
deafening cheers, emptied it on the platform. Not 



136 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

a policeman stirred; but another young man, in 
sympathy with the object of the meeting, sprang 
upon the platform and attacked the man who had 
displayed the poster and emptied the water. A 
scuf&e ensued, and the Imperialist, who had all the 
worst of it, rushed away to make his escape in such 
alarm that he lost his balance in his attempt to leap 
down and rolled heavily off the platform on to the 
reporters' table, eventually making his escape into 
the yelling crowd Then the poKce appeared from 
the back and seized the man who was strivii^ to do 
what they should have done. The man who created 
the row remained uninterfered with ; the other was 
brought out at the back of the hall and ejected into 
the street just as Mr. Walsh and I were entering. 
This incident is instructive as showing the mettle of 
the mob leaders and the methods of the police. The 
ImperiaUst ringleader, plucky only when in a vast 
majority, bolted before one man ; the police arrested 
the wrong man, displaying their partiaUty and sym- 
pathy with the rioters, which, winked at by local 
authorities, was one of the most regrettable features 
of the war delirium. 

Mr. Walsh and I drove down from his house in a 
cab and arrived at the platform entrance just as the 
young man was being ejected, as I have related. 
We found Mr. Keir Hardie and others already 
there. As the noise in the hall was simply tumul* 
tuous, and a riot imminent, the advisability of pro- 
ceeding with the meeting was discussed. Mr. 
Keir Hardie at once said the meeting should be 
abandoned. Mr. Walsh, who was very much cut up, 
was opposed to this ; he could not believe so ill of 
his town. But Mr. Keir Hardie, who had again 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 127 

looked into the hall» reiterated his decided opinion 
that the meeting should be promptly abandoned; 
if any attempt were made to proceed with it, he 
said, the hall would be wrecked. Mr. Hardie is a 
brave, cool man, and his judgment is experienced 
and sound in such matters. Before definitely aban- 
doning it, however, Mr. Walsh said he would con- 
sult the police. So the police were summoned. Fif- 
teen of the finest men I have ever seen together 
stepped in — silent, huge, and strong. Everybody 
in the room seemed to shrink in size before their 
magnificent proportions. I love ph3rsical perfection 
like a Greek, and they were a spectacle I revelled 
ia They concurred in Mr. Hardie's opinion, and so 
it was decided to abandon the meeting. At the 
urgent request of the head of the poUce we lost no 
time in leaving. He told us to wait while he sent 
for a cab, and as soon as the cab drew up he rushed 
us in through the small lot of people standing around, 
slammed the door, and ordered the cabby off sharp. 
We drove to Mr. Walsh's house. I was sincerely 
sorry for Mr. Walsh; he felt the disgrace of it all 
keenly. He is a most dauntless man, capable of 
facing any danger, but he recognised that no one 
would have been able to say a word, and that the 
hall would have been wrecked; whereas, both the 
police and ourselves hoped that, if the hall could 
be quickly cleared before worse passions were 
aroused, but little damage would be done, and that 
the huge mob would disperse. We were only about 
ten or fifteen minutes in the HalL 

Within the hall, the incident of the poster and the 
water had already ended, when two other young 
men, each displaying a Union Jack, mounted the 



128 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

platfonn and attempted to lead the audience in sing- 
ing " God save the Queen," but the din was so great 
and so incessant that their efforts were wasted The 
excitement was now at boiling point, and above the 
unearthly din, loud bugle calls rang out As the 
police did not interfere with these two Imperialists, 
an anti-war man went up on to the platform and 
tried to push them off. Others mounted the plat* 
form and a great struggle ensued, during which one 
of the flagwaggers in his excitement struck an elec- 
tric lighting globe, whereupon a dozen policemen, 
fearing further mischief, rushed on the platform with 
the object of seizing some one. On the stairs a 
large number of men had collected with the idea 
of mounting the platform, but were held at bay by a 
stalwart and immovable supporter of the anti-war 
movement, who refused to allow anyone to pass. 
The police seized this man, despite his attempt at 
explanation, and a serious riot seemed inevitable, 
but the police managed to hold their own, and, 
while some of them rushed the captured man across 
the platform amidst ironical cheers and a shower of 
missiles, one of which, a huge potato, struck one of 
the newspaper reporters on the head, others 
guarded the stairs and the entrances to the ante- 
rooms. 

Shortly before 8 o'clock, Mr. John Carnegie, an ex- 
School-Board member and a Labour sympathiser, 
and one or two others, appeared on the platform. 
Their appearance was met with general uproar and 
an unsuccessful attempt to storm the platform. The 
students led the uproar, one man in the gallery play- 
ing a solo on the bugle, the audience beating time 
with their feet and bawling. Mr. Carnegie, amidst 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 129 

a storm of missiles, attempted to speak, but only 
a few discomiected sentences were audible. Hardly 
anyone heard him declare the meeting abandoned; 
but the Chief Constable now informed the Press re- 
porters, who had been compelled to abandon their 
quarters in consequence of the tumult on and before 
the platform, of the fact, and at the same time Mr. 
William Bell, a prominent temperance man, pinned 
a piece of white paper, on which were written the 
words, " No Meeting," to the curtain suspended from 
the brass rod in front of the choir seats. This an- 
nouncement was received with loud and long-con- 
tinued cheering. The young men became almost 
frantic with delight and shouted till they were hoarse. 
The audience, now in a thoroughly excited state, 
showed not the slightest inclination to disperse. 
Rather they seemed to imagine that, having obtained 
possession of the premises, they were at liberty to 
use them as they liked to indicate their sympathy 
with the war. Several lights were extinguished with 
the hope that this might lead to the evacuation 
of the hall, but it had no such efiFect A fearful 
tumult continued until near 9 o'clock, when the Chief 
Constable induced a leading student to address his 
fellows and the Imperialists generally from the plat- 
form, and ask them to leave the hall. The advice 
was taken, a bugle sotmded the " retreat," and after 
wild cheering over the "victory," the hall emptied, 
and at last quietness reigned where there had been 
nothing but riot and uproar for nearly two hours. 

" A good deal of damage was done to the fittings 
in the hall" says the Dundee Advertiser; "a gas- 
bracket was torn down, several forms were smashed, 
the railings leading to the platform were thrown off 



130 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

their balance, while several potatoes, a couple of 
broken eggs, and an unexploded squib were picked 
up off the platform.'' 



Part III. 
The Mob ; Attack on Mr. Walsh's House. 

When the doors of the hall were opened a rush 
was made by those outside to gain entrance, but 
this was prevented, and soon the audience began to 
file out, amidst a scene of the wildest excitement 
Flagfs were waved, deafening cheers rent the air, 
and above all the bugle blast rang out The crowd 
was now immense. Thousands of young men and 
others had assembled in Whitehall Street, and soon 
a procession was formed, in which a body of St 
Andrew's students were especially prominent. The 
bugler and a number of others with tin whistles 
headed the procession, which then paraded the 
thoroughfares in the vicinity of the hsdl and after- 
wards the principal streets of the City, bawling 
" patriotic " songs, waving flags, and making a great 
noise. 

After "demonstrating" twice in front of the 
Queen's statue a section of the mob proceeded up to 
Mr. Walsh's house, which they reached about lO 
o'clock. 

We in the house had hardly expected this, as it 
is some considerable distance from the hall to the 
house. First we heard that indescribable subdued 
roar that a surging mob makes, then it broke on us 
with loud yells, while the hurling of stones announced 
the coming attack. Several attempts were made to 
break into the grounds, which fortunately had a wall 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 131 

on the side where the mob were, but some policemen, 
who had wisely arrived with them, prevented this, 
though with great difficulty. (The mob was estimated 
at some three thousand.) Defeated in their inten- 
tion of storming the house, the Imperialists indulged 
in derisive shouts and stone throwing. Not long 
afterwards the noise gradually died away and we 
knew the mob had gone. Then Inspector Gordon 
came in and had some supper. We s^sked him how 
he had managed With a chuckle he said he had 
outgeneralled them. He had told them that only 
Mrs. Walsh and the bairns were inside, and 
argued with them, "Ye would na hurt the puir 
bairns." Then he told them in a stem voice that 
he had the y^id full of men, and threatened them 
with something horrible if they did not dis- 
perse. As a matter of fact he had only three or 
four men ; but his bold bearing saved the situation ; 
the mob, proverbially heartless, had withdrawn, and 
the disgraceful scene was at an end. The Inspector 
chuckled hugely over the way he had browbeaten 
and outgeneralled the crowd. The police remained in 
the vicinity for some time, one or two remaining the 
greater part of the night 

I vras upstairs in one of the front rooms talking 
to an Advertiser man, while a Courier man waited 
downstairs, when we heard the mob coming. Then 
they arrived yeUing and began throwing stones which 
struck the windows of the room. Hoping to save 
the glass, we turned out the light and went down- 
stairs, where, in a back room, I talked first to one 
reporter and then to the other.* Meanwhile the 

♦ For interwiew with Advertiser see Part IV. I had no 

I 2 



132 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

bombardment continued, several stones large enoiigh 
to do serious damage coming in, one being stopped 
by a Venetian blind close to the head of one of the 
small children who was in bed 

When I came downstairs the bombardment was at 
its height, and no one knew what might happen at 
any moment It was quite probable that the mad 
thousands would break in and wreck the house and 
assault some of us; but no one showed the least 
fear. Mr. Walsh, whom I believe nothing could 
daunt, and his wife, a shght, delicate woman as cool 
and collected as though everything were quiet as 
usual, and all the bonny children down to the small- 
est, everyone was quite steady and even cheerful No 
doubt the smaller children reflected the firmness of 
their elders. Mr. Walsh himself was in great pain 
at the disgrace of it all to Dundee and the insult to 
his guests. It was, I need hardly say, most painful 
to me to be, however unintentionally, the cause of 
so much distress to my kind friends; but I shall 
always think of the splendid nerve of that brave and 
devoted family. 

Next morning Mr. Walsh and I drove off in a 
cab. As we left the house, the neighboxiring little 
children, whose heads he had often patted, hooted 
at us and called us Boers with their pleasant childish 
voices. They knew not what they meant; they 
were just copying their elders. We called at Gil- 
Allan Hall and saw the scene of last night's riot, 
and then Mr. Walsh and several others saw me 
off at the railway station for Gateshead, where I was 
to speak that night 

■ 

opportunity of revision, but have made a few trifling verbal 
alterations in reproducing it. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 133 

No one, I believe, was brought before the law 
officers in connection with this disgraceful riot. As 
elsewhere, the authorities seem covertly to have 
been on the side of the rioters. 

Mr. Walsh addressed a forcible and eloquent ap- 
peal to the Lord Provost, but nothing came of it 
Subsequently Mr. Walsh was stoned through the 
streets, and lost many of his congregation, but he is 
not a man to be daunted. Many Sunday evenings 
afterwards, after church hours, he and others held 
open-air meetings condemning the war. He is a 
good and a brave man. 

Part IV. 
Interview with the "Dundee Advertiser." 

(From the Dundee Advertiser, 9th March, 1900.) 

When the anxious little company assembled in 
the vestry at the GilfiUan Hall recognised the futility 
of proceeding with the meeting, a hurried consultation 
took place, and fhe result was that a cab was sent 
for. Into the vehicle went Rev. Walter Walsh, Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner, and Mr. Keir Hardie — the 
party driving to the house of the first mentioned 
in Bonnybank Road. An Advertiser reporter called 
about 9 o'clock, and was cordially received as being 
able to relate the course of events at the hall sub- 
sequent to the departure of the speakers that were to 
be. All three gentlemen were gratified that the pro- 
ceedings had terminated without very serious dis- 
turbance. The reporter was introduced to Mr. 
Schreiner by his host, and he readfly expressed his 
willii^pess to be interviewed. Of medium height, 
with a well-knit frame and open, attractive counten- 



134 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

ance, Mr. Schreiner is apparently about five and 
thirty or forty years old He is a fluent and grace- 
ful speaker, and has made the subject of the South 
African trouble a long and careful study. "At the 
outset," he remarked, " I wish to say how extremely 
sorry I am that the meeting had to be abandoned 
The person who knows only one side of a question 
does not, as a rule, know much about that, and it 
is only fair that the other side should be heard I 
would also like to say, having regard to the fact that 
a deal of misapprehension exists as to myself, that 
I am of pure British descent on both sides, and that 
I am a British subject to-day." 

"Where is your South African home, Mr. 
Schreiner ?" 

"In Johannesburg. I am an Outlander. I have 
been in the gold city through all this trouble, and I 
have been an observer of the various stages of the 
negotiations and the forces that have been behind'* 

" What is the object of your visit to this country ?* 

" I came here about six weeks ago at the invita- 
tion of some English gentlemen who thought that I 
could to some extent serve the anti-war side of the 
State, the saner members of the British public Mark 
you, I do not appear as a pro-Boer in any sense of 
the term." 

" What position, then, do you take up in the ques- 
tion? Your sympathies are of course, entirely with 
the Boers." 

"Yes, undoubtedly; but my problem is how to 
conserve South Africa for the Empire. I am satis- f 

fied that the present policy of the British Govern- 
ment is a policy which, if persisted in, will eventually 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 135 

lose South Africa to the Empire. From the British 
standpoint I hold this war to be unjust and bad" 

Here Mr. Schreiner gave rein to his feelings, and 
made an onslaught on those who he says are solely 
responsible for the war. 

" I hold," he went on, " it can be proved that the 
war has been deliberately brought about by a small 
gang of capitaUsts — men seeking not the good of the 
Empire or South Africa, or any part of its people, 
but their own selfish ends. To secure this end they 
have persistently misrepresented South African affairs 
to the British people. For one thing, they have 
purchased outright or have a control over the 
majority of the leading organs of the Press in South 
Africa. Just as, before the Raid, the chivalrous feel- 
ii^ of the British people were appealed to by the 
clique to protect the women and children who were 
represented as being in danger from the Boers when 
no such daz^er existed, so have they now traded 
upon the British love of justice, love of fair play, 
and hatred of tyranny, to carry out the designs which 
were frustrated by the failure of the Raid It is 
represented that Britain is fighting for the franchise 
of her subjects in South Africa — that is, for equal 
rights. If so, then it is the first time in history that 
a nation has fought to disfranchise its own subjects 
and make them subjects of another State. Sir 
Alfred Milner at the Bloemfontein Conference de- 
manded a five years' retrospective franchise, saying 
that if this were granted, Uie Outlanders could be 
left to fight out their own salvation. At the present 
time the Transvaal has in its own constitution a seven 
years' retrospective franchise, which I hold is a more 
liberal natuxalisation law than that which prevails in 



136 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Great Britain to-<lay. Farther, since putting that 
on the Constitution, they have offered a five years* 
franchise, coupled with 

ARBITRATION ON DISPUTED POINTS 

— ^an arbitration exclusive of foreign aid, and a 
Joint Commission to prove their bona -fides. This, 
Mr. Chamberlain said, he intended to accept as to 
nine-tenths, the remaining one-tenth being a mere 
matter of form not worth fighting for. If you ask 
the truth as I regard it, the Outlanders' agitation 
clique do not want the franchise. The reason why 
they demanded it in the first instance was because 
they thought they would not get it, and since they 
saw it was likely to be granted, they formulated a 
lot of other demands, which they knew the Trans- 
vaal would never grant. I think it has been clearly 
shown that it is not the franchise that Britain is 
fighting for. With regard to the accusations of out- 
rages in the Transvaal and insecurity of life and 
property, my personal experience since arrival in 
this country has shown me that the person of an 
individual and the property of individuals are safer 
in Johannesburg than in some parts of Great Britain. 
The right of holding meetings is better safeguarded 
in the Transvaal than in Edinburgh or Dundee. I 
would also add, after my experiences of both places, 
that the Transvaal police are a much more efficient 
body than any I have seen in Great Britain. We 
hear much of concessions," continued Mr. Schreiner ; 
"it may be very appropriately pointed out that 
the Home Government has made a concession of 
Rhodesia to a speculative company, delegating at 
the same time its Imperial rights over a subject" 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 13; 

race to the same body of specalators» who im- 
mediately 

PROCEED TO ENSLAVE THAT RACE 

as Sir Richard Martin's report proves. Then as to 
taxation. It is not complained that the taxation 
under the gold law is excessive. The gold law is 
generally acknowledged to be the most liberal in 
the world If the financial houses complain that they 
pay nine-tenths of the taxation, it must be borne in 
mind that they possess nine-tenths of the wealth* and 
that the most of that wealth, according to Mr. 
Hayes Hammond* is held* not in Great Britain* but 
on the Continent I will only say one word as to food 
stuffs, and that will be that in consequence of the free 
trade poUcy pursued in the Transvaal* food stuffs are 
as cheap in Johannesburg as in Kimberley. The 
treatment of native races is a point on which I feel 
somewhat keenly. There can be no doubt that the 
treatment of the natives is reprehensible* but it is 
no worse in the Transvaal than in Rhodesia. The 
avowed policy of the Outlander clique is to reduce 
the wages of the natives* and after that of the white 
man. I believe that in this country you have been 
hearing a great deal about a Dutch conspiracy to drive 
the English out of South Africa. There is no word 
of truth in that The republics did everything they 
could to avoid war; and as for Cape Colony* it is 
the only one in the British Empire which has unani- 
mously given a contribution to the navy. The 
present Ministry* besides continuing that contribu- 
tion* has handed over to the Imperial authorities the 
fortified naval station of Simons Town. It was 
the Africander party that was responsible for the 



138 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

contribution I refer to, and I ask you if that looks 
like a Dutch conspiracy. The Dutch of Cape Colony 
are very loyal to the British Crown. They have, or 
did have, a thorough belief in the British people. 
The vast majority of the white population in South 
Africa is opposed to the war, and I again say that 
if the Government persist in this policy of entirely 
smashing up the Republics and taking away their 
flags, the result wiU be — the inevitable result will be 
— ^to alienate the whole of the Dutch population of 
South Africa, which amounts to a majori^ over the 
rest of the population of about 150,000. They will 
be supported by many people in South Africa who 
are purely British, and I conclude that the net result 
will be that out of 800,000 white people in South 
Africa, 500,000 will be alienated from Britain. Per- 
petual discord will prevail, and South Africa will 
require to be held by Britain at the point of the 
bayonet" 

'* It is almost unnecessary to ask your opinion as 
to how the Boers have conducted the war? Of 
course, you think they have done very well so far 
and fought very pluckily ? " 

" I consider," replied Mr. Schreiner, " that the Re- 
publics have carried on war in a conspicuously brave 
and admirable manner, as all peoples do who believe 
they have right on their side and are fighting for 
the land of their birth." 

"There can be only one ending, however — you 
will admit that f* 

" Readily. How can 200,000 people hope to fight 
40 millions? But my conviction is that the Boers 
and their allies will fight to the bitter end, and if that 
is so we may expect to see women and boys in the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 139 

trenches. This cruel and bloody struggle is nothing 
short of a civil war. Britain has put against her 
not the Dutch only, but the Dutch as that portion of 
the South African people which is growing up ; and 
she has at the same time alienated much of that 
South African sentiment that is not Dutch." 



CHAPTER X. 

GATESHEAD-ON-TYNE, QTH MARCH, I9OO. 

Part I. 

Arrangements for the Meeting; the 
Meeting Abandoned. 

I arrived at Gateshead on the afternoon of the 
gth March, and was at once driven down to Ben- 
sham Grove, the delightful residence of Dr. and 
Mrs. Spence Watson, whose guest I was during mjr 
stay. 

Mr. Spence Watson was president of the Liberal 
Federal Association of Great Britain. The Spence 
Watsons are " friends." Mrs. Spence Watson and her 
two daughters were there when I arrived. The 
Doctor, who was delivering a lecture elsewhere, 
arrived later in the evening, and listened with interest 
to a vivid account of what had happened during his 
absence. 

Not long before, a branch of the " Stop the War 
Committee" had been formed at Gateshead, affilia- 
ted to both the " South African Conciliation " and 
the " Stop the War " Committees of London. Of 
this branch Committee, Dean Kitchin, of Durham, 
was president On its formation, an advertisement 
to that effect was inserted in the local Liberal 
paper (The Newcastle Daily Leader)^ and numerous 
offers of support having been promised and much 
literature distributed, it was deemed advisable to 
hold a meeting of the members to hear an address 
from Dean Kitchin, admission to be by ticket The 

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THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 141 

secretary then wrote to the headquarters of the 
South African ConciUation Committee in London, 
asking for another speaker to attend the meeting, 
and I was asked to go. When the Gateshead Com- 
mittee were informed of this» they decided to hold a 
meeting with myself as chief speaker and the Dean 
in the chair, on the evening of the 9th MarcL 

The first idea of holding the meeting in a small 
hall on the outskirts of the town was abandoned. 
So much interest was taken in the matter that it was 
decided to hire the Town Hall, which, had the 
meeting been held, would have been filled with 
sympathisers. 

Some considerable difficulty was experienced in 
obtainii^ the Town Hall, the curator being unwilling 
to let it, as usual, on his own responsibihty ; but it 
was eventually secured on the Committee giving a 
written guarantee to the Corporation, holding them- 
selves responsible for all damage done to the hall, 
both inside and outside — a condition which had 
never been asked Before under any cirounstances. 

The meeting was a strictly private one, and every 
precaution was taken to prevent a knowledge of 
it being generally made public " Many discussions 
were held," writes Mrs. Spence Watson, " and every 
precaution taken in the hope of being able to hold 
the meeting as planned, but the news of the riots 
at Dundee and Edinburgh, where Mr. Schreiner had 
really been in danger of his life, made the Committee 
naturally very anxious." As it was known that at 
other centres ImperipJists had obtained admission 
by means of forged tickets for the purpose of assault- 
ing the speakers and wrecking the meetings* the 
Gateshead Committee took the precaution to issue 



142 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

a ticket which could not easily be foiged I give 
a copy. The original was faintly tinted It will be 
seen that the ticket has a delicate flowered pattern ; 
it had also to be signed by a member of the Com- 
mittee, without which entrance was not permissible. 

Having secured the hsJl and safeguarded against 
forged tickets, the Committee proceeded to arrange 
about guarding the doors and the checking of tickets. 
The Chief Constable^ Mr. Trotter, promised to supply 
a number of constables, and, indeed, so well ful- 
filled his promise that on the night of the meeting 
every available poHceman was stationed in and about 
the halL A number of working men also volunteered 
to help guard the doors and collect the tickets. 

Notwithstanding every possible precaution, it got 
about that the meeting was to be held; and the 
Imperialists set to work to arrange to break it up. 
General publicity was first given to the arrangements 
by the Conservative paper which had advised Lord 
Roberts to carry fire and sword through the Orange 
Free State, and it did so in an article which could 
hardly fail to incite to violence. " The consequence 
was," says the Newcastle Daily Chronicle (Conserva- 
tive), '^most people in Gateshead, and in Newcastle 
too, knew all about the meetii^ — ^when and where 
it was to be held, that Dean Kitchin was to preside, 
and that Mr. Cronwright Schreiner was to be the 
principal speaker. .... So it was obvious during 
the day that, if the meeting should be held, there 
would be a row, which might have serious conse- 
quences." ''As soon as it was known," says the 
Newcastle Daily Leader (Liberal), '' that the Gates- 
head Conmiittee intended to hold a meeting, oppo- 
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THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 143 

that an attempt to obtain entrance to the Town 
Hall would be made by non-ticket-holders, and that, 
failing this, the crowd would prevent those who 
possessed tickets from going in." 

The Imperialist public were not without mentors 
and instigators. On the day of the meeting, the 
Chronicle and the Journal^ the two local Conserva- 
tive papers, had articles which were easily construed 
into thinly veiled incitements to violence. For in- 
stance, the Chronicle^ after accusing the promoters 
of the meeting of being pawns of the Africander 
Bond, and of " a desire to do something on the sly, 
with the object of afterwards representing the thing 
done as the work of the public," said : ** Their organ- 
isation of the meeting is an invitation to all interested 
in the subject set for discussion; and we hope the 
request will be very largely responded to." 

Alderman Lucas, Conservative candidate for Gates- 
head at the last election, wrote a letter to the 
ChronicUy arguing that the promoters were support- 
ing the enemies of the country, and the following 
circular was distributed to every man going in or 
coming out of the works in the neighbourhood on 
the 9th: — 

"STOP THE WAR, BY ALL MEANS! 

" BY THE ONLY EFFECTIVE MEANS— 
"STOP KRUGERI 

"That is what our brave soldiers are now doing 
to some purpose, and every British, loyal and patri- 
otic subject will heartily rejoice at their success. 

"A small section of fanatics, who admire the 
Boers a great deal more than they love their own 
countrymen, and who, doubtless, are delighted when 



144 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

they hear of any reverses to British troops, and, 
there is no doubt, rejoice when the Boers meet with 
any successes, are so infatuated as to cry, ' Stop the 
War.' Some of these individuals, who are only 
rebels under another name, intend holding a ticket 
meeting in the Town Hall, Gateshead, to-night, 
March Qth. 

"Their object in holding such ticket meetings in 
certain parts of the country is to try to make it appear 
that a large body of public people in this country are 
in favour of making peace at any price, and in allowing 
Kruger and Steyn to continue to tyrannise over the 
British subjects as Kruger has done in the past 
Under the Convention, full liberty was promised 
to our people, but, before the ink was dry, the Boers 
had begun to filch away what little liberty and free- 
dom the British possessed, although they were a 
great majority of the people. Every eflFort was 
used to secure their rights by peaceful means, but 
Kruger and Steyn preferred to declare war against 
us by sending us a most impudent ultimatum to 
withdraw oiu: troops from our own Colonies. 

" We did not want war. Kruger declared it against 
us, preferring it rather than giving our people liberty. 
But, now, because our troops are begiiming to be 
victorious, he and his friends are becoming utterly 
dismayed. We have saved the Boers twice, and given 
them rights that they would not concede equally to 
our countrymeiL They have ovemm Natal and 
Cape Colony, destroyed the lives of the people, 
harassed them by day and night, and destroyed their 
property. The war they have declared against us 
has entailed the loss of thousands of our brave 
countrymen, and now, when they are going to meet 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 145 

their just rewards, we have this ciy raised, 'Stop 
the War/ 

"From every part of our dominions one cry of 
loyalty to the Mother Country has arisea Our 
Colonial brothers have offered their money, and 
their lives, to assist the old country and save the 
Empire, and are prepared to make the greatest sacri- 
fices, and there is on all hands the unanimous desire 
to do what is right, and not again to be betrayed 
by the leaders of the Boers 

"They will get equality, but they will never get, 
at the hands of a majority of our countrymen, es- 
pecially from those who have been fighting our 
battles, anything more, and while one does not desire 
to interfere with these Ticket Meetii^s^ but would 
even give them a great deal more Uberty than Kruger 
would concede to Englishmen, yet we enter our pro- 
test against the action of such individuals, and we 
are well assured that neither Kruger nor Ste3ai would 
permit for a moment any such liberty as they en- 
joy in this coimtry, nor would they be tolerated in 
any cotmtry in Europe except Great Britain. 

" A Loyal and Patriotic Englishman." 

This working up of a riot was not the act of 
unknown men or men of no social standing. They 
were "public men" who sent handbills in thousands 
around the works, inviting men to come and put the 
veto of the mob on free speech — "men who stand 
high in the Council at Gateshead, men who sit on 
the Bench to deal out penalties ordained by law to 
be inflicted on the riotous and disorderly. When 
they had done their part in this way, they held aloof 
from the developments consequent upon their ac- 
tion;" and it was "a member of the Cotmdl who 



146 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

assumed a dangerous leadership at an explosive 
moment" in the evening. Behind all this there 
can be no doubt there were paid political agents. 
''The ringleaders of this frothy mob of * patriots* 
are pubUc men," says a correspondent to the Daily 
Leader^ '*occup>'ing positions of trust and responsi- 
bility in the borough, and should, therefore, be the 
foes of disorder and violence." 

But bad as the Conserv-ative pa9>ers were, and 
dastardly as was this circularising of the misinformed 
vrorkmen for the purpose of wreddng a private 
gathering, the Imperialists sank to yet lower depths. 
Not only were roughs paid and bribed by drinks 
to break up the meeting, but it transpired that it 
had actually been arranged in a certain Club that, 
should the crowd not be able to force its way through 
the door, a window at the side of the hall was to 
be brokm and a few burh- * patriots " helped through 
to attack the door keepers in the rear ; and a strong 
musical band was engaged 

WTien I arrived at Bensham Grove at about 5.30 
pjiu I found that the Gateshead Committee, warned 
by what had happened at Edinburgh and Dundee, 
and by threats and warnings that had reached them 
of the OTvr.xn.scd ruffianism that was to wredc the 
meeting, had already wired to Dean Kitcfain at 
Durhani not to o>me owr The Dean b an old and 
dehoate man. and the feelii^ raised by a singulaily 
beautiful sermcsn of his was so violent Jargdy doe 
to Judge Grantham's disgraceful attack upon faim)r 
and the threats so brutal that his friends actually 
feattd for his; lite. With leg-aid to the adrisabOity 
of hoMinj the meeting:, notwithstandix^ the 
m^^mutK^a that had come to their knowled^ 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 147 

G>mmittee were still undecided Soon after my 
arrival the Sub-Committee that had the arrangements 
for the meeting in hand assembled at Bensham 
Grove, and a consultation was held. Coupled with 
a partial realisation of the great danger of proceed- 
ing with the meeting was a keen desire not to 
abandon it. It was eventually decided that some 
of the sub-committee should go down to the hall, 
see the state of things there and consult the Chief 
Constable, and then, if they thought it best, abandon 
the meeting. So these members sallied out, and I 
accompanied them. 

A considerable crowd had already assembled at 
the halL We passed along the outskirts. Then I 
and two of the members waited in a room near by 
while two others went to see the Chief Constable at 
the door. He then told them he had information that 
a well-orgeuiised attack was to be made, that it 
would be impossible to hold the hall and protect the 
speakers or prevent wreckage, and that if an attempt 
were made to hold the meeting it might have very 
serious results. He said he could not promise to 
keep order, and could not be held responsible if 
the meeting were persisted in. This settled the 
matter; it was at once decided to abandon the 
meeting, so that the assemblage of a larger crowd 
might, if possible, be prevented. At about 6.30 a 
notice, "No Meeting to-night," was posted on the 
door at the Wall Street entrance, and the gas in 
the hall was extinguished. The two members re- 
turned to where we were waiting, and we all walked 
back to Bensham Grove. 

The decision was wise. " There is no disguising 
the fact," said the Chronicle, "that the Gateshead 

K 2 



148 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

people, with the assistance of many from over the 
rirer, had been resolved to make things lively for 
the ticket holders. No one can say what would have 
happened if prudence had not prevailed. A hundred 
things might have occurred, in the temper of the 
time, and every one of them unpleasant That was 
plain as a pike-staff to anyone who gazed upon the 
great multitude." 

There can be no reasonable doubt that, if the 
Gateshead-Newcastle mob had been once thoroughly 
roused, the town would have been " painted red ; " 
houses would have been wrecked, serious personal 
injuries would have been inflicted, and life might 
have been lost 

Part II. 
The Mob; Attack on Bensham Grove. 

At 6.30 p.m., an hour before the time of the meet- 
ing, the large space in front of the hall was crowded 
with people, whose numbers were being greatly and 
rapidly augmented When the notice, "No meet- 
ing to-night," appeared, it was received with in- 
credulity by the mob. They shouted, " A Boer 
trick," •' the white flag," " a fluke/' and other unin- 
telligible expressions, and showed no intention of 
dispersing. The mob grew rapidly bigger and 
bigger. Thousands of people streamed down Wall 
Street and along Swinburne Street and from all 
neighbouring streets. In the space before the hall 
and spreading out into the street on both sides, the 
mob, packed like sardines, swayed and surged like one 
big corporate body animated by one mind — that mass 
mind which is so simple and primitive and strong* 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 149 

and so much better or worse, generally worse, than 
the individual mind. They cheered and shouted and 
sang " Soldiers of the Queen," and other " patriotic " 
songs, and waved Union Jacks. Soon after 7 o'clock, 
the huge concourse reached right across West Street 
to the pavement on the other side, and surged 
around the tower of the hall in a dense, dark mass^ 
Baulked of their chance of wrecking the meeting, 
the Imperialists determined to hold a meeting of 
their own where they stood. There were cries of 
"Speech," "Speech," and such well known men as 
Mr. Michael Powell, Councillor WardiU, Mr. W. R. 
Armstrong, Mr. John Elliot (a blind octogenarian), 
and others harangued the mob in language suited to 
its level. The speakers mounted a flight of stone 
steps at the side entrance to the hall, and a flag 
was waved over them. Mr. Michael Powell acted 
as chairman. He said "he was proud to think the 
people of Gateshead had said ditto to those of Edin* 
burgh and Dundee." Councillor WardiU was also 
" proud " : " If ever he was proud of being an Eng- 
lishman, it was at that moment" He proposed 
"That this meeting pledges itself to support the 
Government in its determination to prosecute this 
war to a successful issue, and to annex the two re- 
publics." This was seconded by Mr. J. W. Frazer, 
who, says the Daily Leader^ "practically invited the 
crowd to go up to Bensham Grove, where, he said, 
Mr. Schreiner and the promoters had gone." Mr. 
J. H. Burrell was also "proud" — "proud to think 
that the citizens of Gateshead had risen in their 
might to prevent the meeting." Then with happy 
facetiousness and refined good taste, fie "desired 
to know," amid much laughter and cheering^» 



150 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

''whether Dr. Leyds had paid for the use of the 
halL" 

The speeches on the steps were soon over, but the 
mob was advised to stay on until after 7.30, as 
there was a possibility of the " slim pro-Boers " put- 
ting in an appearance and holding a meeting after 
the mob had dispersed 

Earlier in the evening, pamphlets bearing the im- 
print of the Conservative Publication Department 
had been freely distributed by three or four shabbily 
dressed men. Now, again, as the noisy section of 
the mob took up its position in front of the main 
entrance, more pamphlets were distributed. Then 
it was once more harangued by various noisy Im- 
perialists. 

It was clear the mob had no idea of dispersing. 
A notion that the hall doors, now well guarded by 
a row of stalwart policemen, might, after aU, be 
opened, seemed to possess it, and once, at about 
7.30, a rumour that this was actually about to happen 
caused an ugly rush. The notice about the aban- 
donment of the meeting was torn off the door, 
"this slight approach to destruction," says the 
Chronicle^ being " hailed with satisfaction !" Students 
were in evidence, as usual An elderly flagwagger 
tried hard to organise a procession, but was scantily 
supported; it was not till Councillor Wardill and 
others mounted the northern steps again to fire off 
speeches of a bellicose nature that the fires of 
" patriotism " were revived. Then soon a procession 
was organised. It traversed High Street and West 
Street, and in its train about half the crowd moved 
off. The remaining portion began to shrink in 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 151 

numbers, and by about 8 o'clock it seemed more than 
likely that it would quietly melt away. 

But the leading spirits of the Imperialists were not 
content to see the demonstration fizzle out so 
tamely. Dr. Abraham, a member of the Town 
Comidl, Mr. Frazer, the Low Fell Architect, and 
others fanned the smouldering embers into fierce 
flame again by haranguing the people once more. 
Mounting the railings at the top of the square, Dr. 
Abraham told the mob their demonstration was a 
credit to Gateshead, and an example to other parts 
of the Kingdom. He lamented that while the Colonials 
were giving their blood and Uves, there should be 
''rebels" in Gateshead A band, he said, would 
soon arrive, and, headed by it, they would proceed 
to Bensham Grove — ^an announcement that was re- 
ceived with yells of delight. The Daily Leader 
remarked that "but for the hasty calhng up of the 
band, and the personal leadership of Dr. Abraham, 
they (the mob) would probably have dispersed in the 
centre of the borough." 

"Presently," says the Newcastle Daily Chronicley 
*' the beating of a drum and the faint sound of music 
came floating down West Street Soon after a huge 
crowd of boys appeared on the scene. This advance 
guard was followed by some more responsible per- 
sons, and then came the Gateshead band playing 
' The Soldiers of the Queen.' Who had engaged 
the band or v|io was responsible for its appearance 
we cannot say. Certainly it had the most electrical 
efiEect on the hitherto quietly-disposed gathering. 
The people formed up behind it with serious intent 
A cry that they were off to Bensham to see Dr. 
Spence Watson gave them an interesting objective. 



152 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

It was as though they were being led on some 
tangible errand They fell in with the idea with 
enthusiasm and good humour. The temperament 
of the crowd, however, is difficult to gauge, and 
as these thousands of men, not to speak of youths 
and bo)rs, filed down West Street and turned into 
Musgrave Terrace, there were not a few who appre- 
hended danger. Mr. Trotter (the Chief Constable) 
at once sent off several of his men in cabs to Bensham 
Grove, the residence of Dr. Watson, to guard 
against any disturbance. The crowd increased in 
size as it proceeded along the route to Bensham 
Grove, which is a considerable distance from the 
Town Hall. The procession was of great length, and 
its breadth filled the thoroughfares through which it 
passed. How many thousands of men and women, 
youths and children, it was made up of, it is difficult 
to say. The band played one after another of those 
tunes which appeal so keenly to the patriotism of a 
crowd. ' ' The Soldiers of the Queen * was followed 
by The Cock of the North,' and ' The Cock of the 
North' by 'Rule, Britannia.' In all these those 
who went to make up the gigantic procession joined 
most lustily. If not seriously bent upon mischief at 
Bensham Grove, the crowd had an ugly look. 
Anxious shop-keepers along Bensham Road asked 
the panting policemen who were hurrying towards 
Bensham Grove if there was any danger. One 
butcher hurriedly unhooked some joints which were 
hanging outside his shop and placed them beyond 
the reach of the mischievously-indined. Meanwhile 
the crowd marched on good-humouredly, and the 
shopkeepers were reassured. Outside of Bensham 
Grove gates were drawn up some twenty police- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 153 

mea Thay were prepared for all eventualities, and 
with the possibilities connected with a crowd before 
them they did right in expecting the worst Their 
attitude was a passive one. They stood on the foot- 
path in front of the entrance to Dr. Watson's house, 
without displaying any officiousness, or any show 
of authority which might have been regarded in the 
light of provocation. At last the huge advance guard 
of boys yelling and waving banners marched up to 
the gates and came to a dead stop. They saluted 
the dark, gloomy house with a burst of hissing and 
hooting. Some fifty yards behind came the band' 
with the big procession. These soon massed in the 
street near Dr. Watson's house until the whole 
thoroughfare was completely choked. Flags were 
waved frantically, and there was a good deal of sig- 
nificant booing. Otherwise the crowd was orderly. 
Possibly after this display of feeling, the people might 
have been content and gone away. They might, on 
the other hand, have been incensed by speeches to 
commit serious breaches of the peace. And 
here it must be said that the leaders of these thou- 
sands of people were most indiscreet after their 
object had been achieved in haranguing the crowd. 
Fortunately the first speaker (Mr. Frazer), who was 
hoisted on the shoulders of some of his friends, 
could not be heard except by a few. But it was 
different with Dr. Abraham. This popular practi- 
tioner, who has a stentorian voice and an impressive 
style, was heard only too well. Hoisted high on the 
shoulders of some young men and securii^ attention 
after several cries had been raised of 'Order for 
the doctor,' the speaker addressed those present in 
the following words: — 'Men of Gateshead, we have 



154 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

had a heavy march to Pretoria — (loud cheers and 
laughter) — ^but we have got here, and we are now 
able to give Mr. Schreiner, Dr. Kitchin, and Dr. 
Spence Watson our very best compliments. (Hisses.) 
We all hope that the three of them will get to the 
place where they ot^ht to go. (Loud laughter.) I 
will not mention any dirty names, but you all know 
where I meaa (Laughter and cheers.) We will play 
the Dead March in ** Saul " just to show them what 
we think of them — and God help them if they come 
out here to-night* (Loud cheering.) 

" Perhaps it was as well that the hastily got together 
band could not play the Dead March without the 
music — at least it was said so. Instead of the Dead 
March the band struck up 'God Save the Queen,' 
and the excitement of the crowd evaporated with the 
singing of one verse of the ' National Anthem/ and 
<:heers for Ladysmith. At this juncture the band- 
master struck up 'Oh, Listen to the Band,' and 
the musicians moving off, the crowd followed, and 
left Bensham Grove, where there was no sign of 
life, in darkness and peace. The procession went 
back to the middle of the town by Askew Road, 
and though they did not disperse for some time, 
there were no further incidents."* 

The Chronicle, be it observed, says nothing about 
the stone-throwing. As may readily be be- 
lieved, the mob was far from "orderly." As 
a matter of fact, but that the house was 



* From the Newcastle Daily Chronicle^ which, being 

:strongly "Imperialistic," puts its best complexion upon 

^his very disgraceful affair. The Daily Leader speaks of 

"the arrival of the band, presumably the Borough Band, 

as stated by Mr. J. W. Frazer." 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 155 

all in darkness, except for one upstairs win* 
dow, and that it stands some distance from the street 
within a high stone wall, the gate through which 
was guarded by the police, there can be but very 
little doubt that serious damage would have been 
done. The Leader asks, "Was the mob bent on 
murder? The foresight of the Chief Constable, in 
hurrying off police in cabs, prevented what would 
otherwise have been an ugly affair." The ChronicU 
in saying there were "no further incidents," omits 
to mention that the foiled mob vented its cowardly 
spleen by tearing up the railings and destroying the 
garden of a cabman near by, whom Dr. Spence Wat- 
son usually employs 

That a man, and a leading man, should have been 
allowed with impunity to act and speak as Dr. 
Abraham (not to mention others) did, is an eloquent 
sign of the degradation of public life which has so 
•characterised the inrush of the Imperial spirit 

To go back for a moment Soon after I and the 
ethers who had been down to the hall returned to 
Bensham Grove, other people began to arrive. 
There had been no idea of a meeting at Bensham 
<]rrove, and there was no concerted action among 
those who came. Inspired by some similar impulse, 
people rapidly trooped in, among them a Daily 
Leader reporter. It was a remarkable g^athering. 
Jilany of those present seemed to feel a certain 
mysteriousness in the fact that so many separate enti- 
ties had fortuitously come together in this manner, 
practically at the same moment Anyhow, here were 
all the elements for a successful meeting — the prin- 
opal speaker, the audience, and the shorthand re- 
porter. As there were far too many for me to speak 



156 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

to individually, Mrs. Spencc Watson asked me if I 
would address them. It was arranged tEat the pro- 
ceedings should take the form of question and 
answer. Forms, chairs, and other seats were quickly 
provided and arranged in the large room, and soon 
the meeting was in full swing. An excellent meetingf 
it was, reported at length in the Daily Leader next 
morning. Thus was the Imperialist mob largely 
baiBed of its intention of preventing an utterance. 

When the meeting was over and the people were 
dispersing, and I was engaged in conversation with 
a few of them at the door leading into the hall, some 
of the ladies who had accompanied the guests to the 
front door came in hurriedly to say "the mob was 
coming." One of the maids who was in the enclosure 
had heard them, and had rushed in in some alarm 
and banged the door, not, however, before an old 
dog, a great favourite with the family, had valiantly 
rushed out to do battle. Soon the surging mob was 
heard, amidst a good deal of excitement There 
were, however, a considerable number of men still vet 
the house who would have given a good account of 
themselves before the Imperialists could have forced 
their way in. This and the fact which soon trans- 
pired (throtigh the maid, I believe !) that some police- 
men were guarding the gate in the wall, and that 
the men and women assembled were of the quiet*, 
determined kind, not easily scared, made all take 
the whole affair with a smile, though I have na 
doubt that many felt there might be an ugly scene 
within a few minutes The Misses Spence Watsoa 
especially showed great nerve, regarding the whole 
aifair with quiet amusement, but expressing great 
anxiety for the grand old dog who was roaring: 



Mbs, r. spence, vvatson 



«:tt«= 



>iL^ 



-(I 



*i 



fUdiAi 



UBI 






THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 157 

defiance outside — an anxiety charmingly combined 
with undisguised admiration for his aggressive and 
warlike attitude, so wickedly at variance with the 
Quaker spirit! 

Soon there was a loud sound of true Imperialist 
howling and booing^ then stones began to patter, 
and there was a crash of glass upstairs. After a 
time, the storm passed over, as has been related. 
When quiet reigned again, the front door was opened, 
and the old dog, having seen the premises cleared, 
rushed in in splendid form, hugely delighted with 
himself, and received a hero's welcome. There were 
pats on the head and exclamations of delight as this 
unregenerate Quaker dog ran from one to another to 
be congratulated. 

The Misses Spence Watson, who went upstairs to 
see what damage had been done, returned jubilant 
with a stone that had crashed through the bedroom 
window. Only this window was broken^ which is 
accounted for by the fact that it was the only one with 
a light in it visible from the street, and that the 
house stood some distance from the protecting wall 

Later, Dr. Spence Watson arrived, and we had 
a very pleasant chat in his beautiful library. We 
talked mostly of books, and fraternised over Keats. 
Before retiring for the night, the doctor and his 
family decided that one surface of the stone that 
had broken the window should be polished and 
engraved with a record of how and when it came 
into the house. This "Free Speech" stone now 
occupies an honoured place at Bensham Grove. It 
will have an increasing historic value as time goes on. 

In the course of our conversation, the doctor men- 
tioned an interesting circumstance. The last time 



158 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Mr. Chamberlain slept at Bensham Grove, he said, the 
house had to be guarded all night by poUcemenI I 
fervently pray that my later days may not be like 
Mr. Chamberlain's. 

I was to have spoken at Sheffield next evenings 
but, on my arrival at Bensham Grove, I found a 
letter from Mr. H. J. Wilson, M.P., telling me the 
Sheffield meeting had been abandoned in conse- 
quence of the violent threats that had been made to 
wreck it, and the certainty that organised ruffianism 
would be in full force. 

I was not sorry, for I was feeling very ill. My 
hosts asked me to spend the day with them, a 
thoughtful request which meant much to me It 
was indeed forttmate I had had to make no speeches 
after Glasgow. Even there my voice was so weak that I 
spoke only with g^reat effort. But after that it was 
certain that, except in a quite small hall, my voice 
would not have been heard, and I had but little 
energy. 

So I spent the Saturday (loth March) at Bensham 
Grove, most of the day on my bed. In the afternoon 
and evening I met a good many people. On Sunday 
morning, Dr. Spence Watson drove me to the station 
and saw me off to York, which, skipping Sheffield, 
was the next place I was due at 






CHAPTER XI. 

SHEFFIELD, lOTH MARCH. 

It was Mr. EL J. Wilson, M.P., who asked me to 
speak at Sheffield, and to be his guest during my 
stay there. The Wilsons, like the Spence Watsons, 
are " Friends." It was arranged to hold a private 
meeting of ladies and gentlemen who should be 
specially invited to meet at the Cutlers' Hall on the 
afternoon of March loth, to take tea together and 
discuss the South African Situation, after I had 
addressed them. 

It must be noted that this was in no sense a 
public meeting; it was not even a ticket meetings 
but a perfectly private gathering in a private build- 
ing by invitation, to which the Press were not in- 
vited There were no advertisements or public an- 
nouncements of any kind The invitations, addressed 
to individuals by name (the name being filled in on 
the circular in each case), were sent in closed en- 
velopes. Rather more than one hundred persons 
accepted the invitation, which was as follows : — 

" March 3rd, 1900. 
" Dear Sir or Madam, — 

" If you disapprove of the policy which led to the 
present deplorable war in South Africa, you are in- 
vited to meet other friends who hold the same view, 
in the Cutlers' Hall, on Saturday, March loth. Tea 
at 5.30 p.m. 

"After tea Mr. Cronwright Schreiner will address 
the gathering, and the meeting will be open for sug- 

( 159 ) 



i6o THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

gestions as to what, if anything, should be done to 
spread our views in Sheffield. 

" An early reply is requested to Mr. C H. Wilson, 
31, Minna Road. 

* Yours truly, 
** Francis Marples. " Arthur W. Shepherd. 
" Isaac MUner. " J. C. Whitely. 

•' John Parker. " Henry J. Wilson. 

" F. P. Rawson. 



"Mr. 



" Please note that this circular is not transferable, 
and must be produced at the door to secure ad- 



mission." 



On the gth March, the She-ffield and Rotherkam 
Independent^ a paper nominally Liberal, published 
the exact terms of the invitation, except the line 
which showed that it was addressed to individuals 
by name. This the paper studiously omitted. 

In the evening of the same day, the Yorkshire 
Telegraph and Star, a Conservative paper published 
in Sheffield, contained the following, with headlines 
as shown. 

^* SHEFFIELD PRO-BGERS. 



*' Secret Meeting Arranged. 



"•NO ADMISSION WITHOUT CIRCULAR.* 



"VISIT OF MR. CRONWRIGHT SCHREINER. 
"The following circular has been sent round to 
select Liberals in Sheffield: — 

[Here follows the circular already given.'] 

"It may be interesting to note that there arc 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH i6i 

three entrances to the Cutlers' Hall, the front en- 
trance in Church Street, the back doors approached 
from Exchange Gateway, Fargate, and Orchard 
Lane, Leopold Street At which door the circulars 
are to be presented is not stated in the circular. 



" AN INSULT TO OUR DEAD. 



" Is it not about time," asks the Chronicle^ the organ 
of the Little Englanders, "that Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner and his anti-English friends abandoned 
their persistent attempts to educate EngUsh audiences 
into thinking what they want them to think? The 
nation has shown unmistakably that it does not 
want to hear the speeches of Mr. C. Schreiner and 
his friends, and that its inclination is to take them 
as an insult to our honoured dead" 

In consequence of this, some of the signatories to 
the invitation with three or four other friends con- 
ferred together on the same evening (Friday, pth 
March), and decided that, in view of all the circum- 
stances, it was desirable to postpone the meeting. 

On Saturday morning, March lOth, the day of the 
meeting, the She-ffield Daily Telegraphy a Tory 
paper, had an inflammatory leading article, in the 
course of which it said : — 

"We are certain that the people of Sheffield 
would like to take part in this meeting, particularly 
as that champion of the Boers, Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner, is to address the gathering. It is possible, 
too, that Sheffield people might have several sugges- 
tions to give both Mr. Cronwright Schreiner and our 
local Little Englanders. z 

•* We think it right that Sheffield should know that 

I. 



162 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

Mr. Cronwrigfat Schremer, the advocate of the Boers» 
is coming to Sheffield to-day to plead the cause of 
men of the Kruger, Cronje, Steyn, Snyman, and Leyds 
type. They are holding a very private meeting, be- 
cause they dare not hold a public one. Are they to be 
left to let England be deceived with the idea that 
Sheffield has aught in common with the Queen's 
enemies? Surely not/' 

And the Sheffield and Rotherham Independent^ 
after referring to me as " the Boer husband of Olive 
Schreiner," and pointing out that the Press were not 
invited to the meeting, remarked: ''It is also said, 
and appearances lend colour to the rumour, that the 
Telegraph is likely to do its best to make it hot, 
popularly, for any who are recognised in attending 
the meeting." 

Early in the morning, a notice was posted on the 
door of the Cutlers' Hall notifying the abandonment 
of the meeting; and notices were cydostyled in a 
private house and sent by post in closed envelopes 
to those who had accepted the invitation, and to 
1 few others who had not replied, as follows: — 

''March lOth, 1900. 
"The private tea and conference of ladies and 
gentlemen to which you were invited this (Saturday) 
afternoon at the Cutlers' Hall, has been postponed 

" The time is too short to make the necessary ar- 
rangements to guard against the natural conse* 
quences of the direct and indirect incitements to 
break up the meeting, which have appeared in the 
local Press— especially in the Star^ of gth March. 

" You will be communicated with later." 

In the course of the afternoon, the Star quoted 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 163 

from this notice, showing that it must have been 
taken to that paper by some person who had been 
supposed to be an ally of the Peace party. 

Meantime, in the course of the forenoon, the 
clerk of the Cutlers' Company informed the pro- 
moters of the Conference that they would be held 
responsible by the Cutlers' Company for any damage 
that might be done, the Master Cutler having re- 
ceived a communication from the Chief Constable 
that he anticipated a disturbance. Havix^ heard d 
this statement of the Chief Constable, Mr. H. J. 
Wilson, M.P., sent a messenger to him with the 
following letter : — 

"Osgathorpe Hills, Sheffield, 

March loth, igoo. 
"Commander Scott, RN., Chief Constable of 
Sheffield. 

" Dear Sir,— 

"My son has received a communication stating 
that you have informed the Master Cutler that you 
expect a disturbance at the Cutlers' Hall this after- 
noon. In view of the incitements to violence in the 
Press, and the very direct incitement in the Star 
last night, we had already decided not to hold the 
Conference this afternoon. It was obviously out of 
the question where ladies were expected, and where 
crockery would have been on the tables ! 

"But I gather from your intimation that you ex- 
pect a disturbance which the means at your disposal 
are unequal to deal with. This puts a serious com- 
plexion upon it ; and I think it my duty to suggest 
that an angry crowd may be disposed here, as else- 
where, to turn its attention to some of the persons 

La 



i64 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

connected with the meetii^ which it was intended 
to hold, SLnd I feel sure that you will take such steps 
as you may think desirable for their protection. 

" I append the names (and addresses) which have 
appeared on the invitations. 

« Yours faithfully, 

Henry J. Wilson.** 

(Here followed the names of the signatories to 
the invitation, with the addresses of their residences^ 
and, in necessary cases, their places of business.) 

In consequence of this, at about 2 p.m., constables 
arrived at the houses of some of those who had 
signed the invitation, and stated that they had in- 
structions to remain till a late hour of the evening, 
and to communicate with the police authorities in 
case of any disturbance. 

The Shefield Telegraph and Sheffield Weekly 
News (which appears to be a weekly edition of the 
Telegraph), prefaced their account of what trans- 
pired during the afternoon by remarking ; " For the 
sake of all parties, it is fortunate the meeting was 
not held, for, judg^g by what occurred without it, 
something bordering on a riot, and the creation of 
a good deal of bad blood, would imdoubtedly have 
been the result" 

And the Sheffield Independent, attempting to 
fence with regard to its hot articles, observed: — 
" There were plenty of busybodies quite unconnected 
with the Press, who occupied their spare moments 
on Friday evening and on Saturday morning in 
'buzzing around' hints of an organised demon- 
stration against the pro-Boers. A hot time was 
promised for all who dared to attempt to reach 
that conference at the Cutlers' Hall, and es- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 165 

pedally unpleasant attentions were expressed con- 
cerning the welcome that was to be accorded to Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner, who had been announced to 
give an address. But all these intentions, which 
promised the man in the street so much diversion, 
were baulked by the postponement of the meeting." 
Quite early in the afternoon a little group of 
men assembled near the entrance of the Cutlers* 
Hall, discussing the notice of abandonment and 
awaiting eventualities. The popular impression was 
that the notice was a ruse, the assurance of the 
police and other well-informed persons that the meet- 
ing really would not take place being simply laughed 
at A rowdy Imperialist, wearing patriotic colours, 
pinned red, white, and blue ribbons and a couple 
of small Rsgs to the notice on the door, amid much 
cheering. Then another Imperialist wrote under-^ 
neath, 

" Traitors. Cowards. 
"Boer Soup served hot at 5.30." 

— ^which hugely delighted the refined and intellectual 
assemblage. 

The mob quickly grew, until it stretched right 
across the street, and threatened to dislocate the 
traffic Then it got noisy and shouted and sang 
'^Soldiers of the Queen," and, amid considerable 
cheering, was harangued by sundry Imperialist ora- 
tors, whose language, as uswd, made up in vehemence 
and blatancy what it lacked in polish and intellect 
The Independent facetiously observed that a few 
working men focussed attention, 'liaving previously 
shown their patriotism by rendering indirect assist- 
ance to the Chancellor of the Exchequer." 



i66 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

Inspector Bridgeman, in charge of a special police 
detachment, was unable to disperse the mob, and so 
was obliged to let it go on with its rowdyism until 
after six o'clock. Then there was a rush to the 
Ttlegrafh office, where, in a few minutes, a great 
crowd had gathered, noisy as ever. Again, it some* 
how got about that there were some "pro-Boers'* 
at the Reform Club; so the crowd gathered there 
and groaned and cheered. Then they started off 
down High Street, and afterwards there was some- 
thing of an impromptu march through some of the 
principal streets of the city. 

In the evening the excitement continued There 
were meetings at the Monolith, at which more or less 
talented orators propounded their ideas of "patriot- 
ism," and "pro-Boers" were anathematised to the 
fullest extent. Here an incident occurred which 
plainly showed what might have happened had the 
mob got one of the leaders of the meeting in its 
hands. On the edge of the crowd, a cry was raised 
•'pro-Boer, pro-Boer!" A solitary figure rushed 
across the square in a vain attempt to escape. The 
mob chased him and tripped him up, but the police 
fortunately were successful in promptly rescuing him. 
It appears that all this man did was to object to 
some insulting remark used with reference to the 
peace mea He had a narrow escape from being 
roughly handled. 

The proceedings of the evening, however, were 
not confined to the neighbourhood of the Monolith. 
For a time Church Street was in a very lively state. 
Then a section of the mob, getting a Sag, marched, 
accompanied by a strong force of police, both in 
uniform and plain clothes* to Mr. C. H. Wilson's 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 16; 

bouse in Minna Road, where they "demonstrated/' 
After which, still accompanied by the police, they 
went right away to Mr. H. J. Wilson, M.P/s, house, 
on Osgathorpe Hills, where the police, with some 
dii&culty, maintained order and prevented them enter* 
ing Mr. Wilson's grounds. After singing and cheer- 
ing, groaning and booing, they left, and the Imperial- 
ist mob rule of the day was over. 

The She-ffield Weekly News, a Tory paper, con- 
cluded its account of the riot with the following 
note: — 

" There was a persistent rumour in the city on Sat- 
urday evening that the pro-Boer party had held a 
meeting, after all. None could say where, and there 
appears to be no ground for the suggestioa As a 
matter of fact, Mr. Cronwright Schreiner did not 
come to Sheffield. With a courage very commend- 
able in view of the mauling he has been subjected 
to elsewhere, he was at the service of his friends 
in the city. But those friends very wisely kept him 
away, and, as Mr. Wilson is a man of great determina- 
tion, who does not sit down quietly under defeat, 
there is a good deal of speculation on the part of 
the man in the street as to what his next move will 
be." 

It did not misjudge Mr. Wilson. I shall, in its 
proper place, show what Mr. Wilson's " next move " 
was, and how heavily he scored. Like nearly all 
the prominent men of the Peace party, Mr. Wilson 
and his sons are quiet, brave and determined. 

To indicate how wise was the abandonment of the 
meeting, and how serious matters might have been, 
I quote a few paragraphs from the Sheffield Weekly 



i68 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

News^ a paper not anxious to exaggerate the ruffian- 
ism of Imperialism: — 

''It needed not any superhuman intelligence to 
realise last Saturday that if the meeting was held 
there would be very serious trouble. 

" The Cutlers' Hall is not very far from Bramall 
Lane, and the close of the football match would have 
released 20,000 eager spectators in time for the later 
entertainment in Church Street 

•* The consequences would have been terrible Wc 
know not whether Mr. H. J. Wilson and his fellow 
signatories are in quest of a speedy martyrdom on 
behalf of their Saint Paul, but it is certainly not im- 
probable that they would have found it The 
Cutlers' Company also may believe that a new Cut- 
lers' Hall constructed at the ratepayers' expense 
would be a good idea It is quite within the bounds 
of possibility that had the meeting been held there 
would have been little left of the present building." 

My account of what occurred in Sheffield con- 
cludes with an incident one loves to dwell upoa On 
the nth March, the Rev. Mr. Percy Rawson preached 
a sermon, of which I take the following account 
from the Weekly News: — 

" Mr. Percy Rawson, who was preaching at Walk- 
ley Baptist Chapel on Sunday, made an indirect 
reference to Saturda/s proceedings. 'The son of 
Man shall be delivered into the hands of men' was 
his text, and his sermon was suggested by the visit 
during the present week of the Evangelical Free 
Church Cotmcil. He said it was especially the duty 
of the Free Church to make a proper representation 
of Christianity to the world, and no Christian worthy 
the name could be parochial in his sympathy ; he must 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 169 

be so cosmopolitan as to recognise in every human 
being his brother man, whatever his race, nation, 
colour or creed. John Wesley said a century ago, 

* the world is my parish,' but if he had preached that 
doctrine to-day in She£field, he would have been 
derided as a Little Englander by men who failed to 
grasp the all-embracing ministry of Christianity; 
he would have been denounced not only by the 
Press, but by the vulgar crowd who would parade 
the streets, in a half-drunken state, shoutii^ 'Rule 
Britannia,' and other so-called patriotic songs. When 
the Church had come to understand thoroughly the 
spirit of Christianity, 'Rule Britannia' would give 
place to a better song, like that they had just sung, 

* Crown him with many crowns.* " 

He was a good and brave man to preach such a 
sermon the day after the riot Unfortunately, the 
churches contain few such men; and such as there 
are, are nearly all among the Dissenters. 

" The healthy state of man," says Emerson, in his 
fine essay on Self-ReUance, "is non-conformity I" 



CHAPTER XIL 

YORK, IITH B4ARCH. 

I reached York from Gateshead about midday on 
Sunday, the nth March. As there were no cabs at 
the railway station, I got a porter to carry my port- 
manteau up to 49, Bootham, the residence of Mr. 
and Mrs. Arthur Rowntree, whose guest I was to be. 
I had been unable to wire by which train I would 
<ome, as the information might have leaked out» 
with unpleasant results to both my friends and my- 
self. Even when in communication by wire from 
Gateshead with Mr. Wilson at Sheffield, at Mr. Wil- 
-son's request I did not put my name to any of the 
messages. It was an imdeniable fact that had my 
whereabouts from time to time been known, it would 
have been very dangerous, if not impossible, for me 
to travel My friends generally reahsed this, and in 
consequence my movements were kept secret Thus 
no one knew when I would leave Gateshead or arrive 
at Yoiic. So when I arrived at the station there was 
no one, friend or foe, to meet me, and I walked up 
to 49, Bootham. Mr. and Mrs. Rowntree were away 
when I arrived, not expecting me then, but they soon 
<ame in 

I had casually met some of the Rowntrees at the 
Liberal Conference on February 14th in London, 
"but I was now to know them more intimately. The 
Rowntrees are "Friends." When I come to deal 
with Scarborough, it will be seen how great an honour 
it is to a nation to possess such a f amliy. 

The Rowntrees are best known commercially as 

( 170 ) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 171 

the great cocoa manufacturers ; and it is, by the way, 
somewhat strange that cocoa should be, in England^ 
ahnost wholly in the hands of the "Friends"; the 
Cadburys and the Frys are members of the same 
sect — that religious sect which, if my memory serves 
me right, is the only one which Mr. Herbert Spencer 
has eulogised as being, as a body, intellectually sin- 
cere in its belief and earnest in putting into practice 
the high ideals it professes. I saw a good deal of 
the " Quakers ^ on my peace crusade. A more ad- 
mirable body of people I have never met Such are 
of the salt of the earth. War is, of course, entirely 
•opposed to the genius of Christianity ; but they who 
recognise this are very few, even when the earnest 
freethinkers are counted in. 

I learnt on arrival that the meeting had been 
abandoned in consequence of the certainty of Im- 
perial ruffianism. When my friends saw my name on 
my portmanteau, they said, with a laugh, it vfss for- 
tunate the porter who carried it had not noticed it, 
as feeling was most intense, especially among railway 



It took me a long while to realise the lack of man- 
liness in the bulk of the English people, but I had 
later to recognise it, with the keenest pain. It is 
terrible to see a nation so lost to manliness. I had 
eventually when travelling to erase my name from my 
portmanteau, and my friends had to be careful not to 
mention my name aloud in public ; they even urged 
me not to sdlow my photograph to be takea 

The York Committee, of which Dr. Bedford 
Pierce was chairman, was almost wholly in the hands 
of " Friends." The meeting, which was to have been 
pnbhc, was to have been held that Sunday evenii^ 



172 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

in the York Com Exchange, which is situated not 
far from the river. It was well advertised, and the 
pubUc were cordially invited to attend. In addition 
to the invitation extended by the committee, the 
Tory papers urged the public to attend in their thou- 
sands, and worked them up with the usual exciting 
and mendacious articles. These papers also pub- 
lished a large ntunber of letters, signed and unsigned^ 
of a violent character. 

On Saturday information came to the promoters of 
the meeting from a number of private sources that 
there was a widespread org^anised movement to break 
up the meeting by violent means and assault the 
speakers; and Dr. Pierce was advised by the Chief 
Constable that it would be unwise tmder the circum- 
stances to attempt to hold the meeting. As it be- 
came certain that I should not get a hearing, that the 
meeting would be broken up and the speakers dan- 
gerously assaulted, the meeting was abandoned on 
Saturday. 

This decision was at once made public (early that 
evening, twenty-four hours before the meeting), the 
big posters announcii^ the meeting beix^ cross- 
labelled " Postponed" 

The feeling in York must have been of a partico^ 
larly violent kind, and I have no doubt that if the 
meetii^ had been held the riot would have been of 
the most serious character. So extensive were the 
purchases of rotten ^gs, soft fruit, vegetable garbage,, 
paint powders and other foul missiles, that there was 
quite a "boom" in these patriotic articles. A kind 
ot shrapnel composed of closed paper bags loaded 
with jam and flour had been manufactured in large 
numbers, and pea-blowers, squirts, etc, were quite 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 173 

common among the projectiles to be used But pur- 
chases were not confined to such articles; missiles 
of a much more dangerous, even deadly type, were 
got together ; and part of the plan seems to have 
been to drag Dr. Pierce and myself to the river on 
a rope and throw us in. The temper of the intend- 
ing rioters may perhaps be gauged from a notice 
posted up in some of the shops. 

BRITONS! 

A BOER IS AMONG YOU! 

REMEMBER MAJUBA! 

So well was the temper of the rioters understood 
that my whereabouts was preserved with the utmost 
secrecy; even the servant maid was expressly cau- 
tioned against mentioning my name outside the house 
until I had gone. 

But though the meeting was abandoned, it had 
been decided that some sympathisers should quietly 
meet that evening at the house of one of the 
" Friends *' not far away. They were not to come in 
a body, but singly or in twos or threes at short in- 
tervals. In this manner we met, one of my compan- 
ions remarking that it recalled the Christians and the 
Catacombs of the early days. This will convey some 
idea of the terrible state to which England had 
sunk. Peaceful citizens could not meet at a friend's 
house for their " worship " (for a deep religious feel- 
ing underlies the anti-war movement) except secretly ; 
they could obtain no protection from the public guar- 
dians of the peace, no protection in the local law 
courts, no compensation for damage to property, 
except in isolated and exceptional cases; bodily as- 
saults, often of a serious nature, were committed 



174 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

with impunity ; life even was not safe ; a Jii^ who 
killed another man in an altercation about the war, 
and who pleaded guilty and was foimd guilty by a 
jury, was discharged unpunished by a British Judge. 
It is a mockery that such a people should pretend 
to be fighting for good government and freedom. 

This secret meeting was duly held, and then we 
quietly dispersed in twos and threes as we had come. 
A report furnished to the Yorkshire Herald was 
refused publication, only a few mutilated paragraphs 
being inserted. 

With regard to the public meeting, in consequence 
of the timely notice of postponement only a small 
body of persons assembled at the entrance of the 
Town Exchange, and no disorder occurred. 

I met a good many people who were invited up 
by Mr. and Mrs. Rowntree. Mr. Rowntree, who is 
the headmaster of a large school, whose pupils are 
almost wholly "Friends," asked me to say a few 
words to the pupils, but I refused, as I did not know 
whether their parents would like it, besides which 
I felt I necessarily had them somewhat at my mercy 
under the circumstances. But on Monday morning 
the boys themselves asked me to do so, and I spoke 
to them for a few minutes. The heartiest cheering 
was evoked by the announcement that I was an old 
football and cricket captain. 

On Monday, Mr. Rowntree and I walked about 
through the streets, and visited the famous cathedral 
and the old tower and its surrounding buildings. 

I now felt certain that no more meetings could be 
held, but of course was ready to go on and visit the 
remaining towns, Scarborough, Leeds, and Biricen- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 175 

head But seeing no use in doing so, only to &nd 
on arrival that the meetings had been abandoned, 
I wired early on Monday morning to Scarborough 
and Leeds, asking whether they were going on with 
their respective meetings. If Leeds fell through so 
did Birkenhead. In both instances came a prompt 
reply in the affirmative. I smilingly remarked to the 
Rowntrees that there would be no meeting at Scar- 
borough, or that next morning there would be no 
cafe, where we were to assemble that night They 
laughingly said no mob was possible in Scarborough ; 
it was "too respectable"; it was a fashionable 
watering place, and the people could not afford to 
allow such a thing ! " Well," I rejoined, in the same 
spirit, "I am now an excellent authority on mobs, 
and know how the mob mind is moving. FU wire to 
you to-morrow morning telling you of the destruction 
of the cafe." So we passed it off. I knew perfectly 
well what would happen; but, of course, while the 
local people stood to their arrangements, I stood to 
mine ; if there was to be a meeting and a riot, it was 
not going to be " Hamlet without the Prince." 

On Monday afternoon, I left for Scarborough, no 
one, except Mr. and Mrs. Rowntree, knowing by 
which train, and no one in Scarborough knowing 
when I should arrive. Such were the precautions 
necessaiy in " Merrie England." 



CHAPTER XIII. 

SCARBOROUGH, I2TH OF MARCH, IQOa 

Part I. 
The Attacked Cafe. 

Before the outbreak of the war, a crowded and 
orderly meetii^ had been held in the Town Hall 
of Scarborough, the most famous watering place in 
the North of England, and one of the oldest parlia- 
mentary boroughs in the kingdom. This meeting 
memorialised the Government in favour of peace. 
Soon after, a branch of the South African Concilia- 
tion Committee was formed, of which Mr. Joshua 
Rowntree, J.P., a magistrate and an ex-M.P., was 
President. 

I was asked to deliver a lecture there, and arrange- 
ments were made for holding the meeting on Tues- 
day evenii^, March 13 th. Mr. J. A Hobson and 
I were, however, asked to come over on Monday, the 
12th, to meet some people Mr. Joshua Rowntree had 
asked to take tea together in the evening. 

As I have said, no one in Scarborough knew by 
which train I should arrive. But early in the after- 
noon a crowd gathered at the railway station to give 
me a "reception." When Mr, Hobson and one of 
the Rowntrees arrived from York at 3.45, they put 
the crowd off the scent by parting on the platform. 
Mr. Hobson was not known, but Mr. Rowntree was 
hooted When I arrived later, a considerable crowd 

( 176 ) 



.•♦-.?!. REW YORt I 

i'UBLIC LIBRARY I 






'. ROVVNTREE 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 177 

was still waiting, which scanned, with smister intent, 
the people who alit from the train. I ignored them, 
and walking quietly through them, got into a cab and 
drove up to Mr. E. R. Cross's house, at South CliiF, 
where I was to stay. 

I have good reason to know that I have had 
several fortunate escapes because I do not look like 
the " Boer " which the mob have in their mind's eye. 
They look, I have no doubt, for a rough " boor," with 
unkempt beard, antiquated badly-fitting clothes, and 
a slouch hat If one goes about unconcernedly, the 
crowd, which is never very intelligent, suspects noth- 
ing. There is a certain fascination in rubbing 
shoulders and exchangii^ remarks under such condi- 
tions with a number of people who are after your 
scalp. 

The Monday evening's "At Home,"* given by Mr. 
Joshua Rowntree, was to be held at the Caf6 of Mr. 
J. W. Rowntree, 21, Westborough, because more 

* The lecture next evening (Tuesday, 13th March) was to 
have been public. The advertisement calling it was as 
follows : — 

"SOUTH AFRICA CONCILIATION COMMITTEE. 

" (Scarborough and Diatriot Braneh.) 

"TIm Committee have pleasure in announoiag that 

*'IIR. CRONWRIGHT SCHRBINER (of Johanneabarg) 

" Will deliTdr a Leetofe 

*' la die Old Tow* Hall, St. NIoholas-Street, Scarborough, 

" On TuBsoAV BvBMiNO, Maroh isth, xgoo. 

*' Subject : ' The Comoitioiis vor Obtaimimo a Dukablb Pbacs 

IM Sooth Afkica.* 

" Chair to be taken at Bight o'doek, hf 
** JomvA iUiwilTKBB, Saq., J.P/' 

I brieve Mr. Hobson was also to have spoken. As the 
object of the meeting was solely to get information, no reso- 
lution, hot merely a vote of thanks, was to have been sob* 
mitted. Every care was taken not to give any caose of 
offence* 



178 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

people were invited than a private room could con- 
veniently hold 

The card of invitation was as follows : — 

"SOUTH AFRICAN CONCILIATION 

COMMITTEE. 

Scarborough and District Branch. 

The President, Mr. Joshua Rowntree, desires the 

pleasure of the company 

of 



at the Cafe, 21, Westborough, on Monday evening 
next, March 12th, igoo, from 8.30 to 10.30, to meet 

Mr. Cronwright Schreiner and Mr. J. A. Hobsoa 
R.S.V.P. to 73, Newborough." 

The Cafe in question is situated in the principal 
thoroughfare, and is one of the most tastefully ar- 
ranged and furnished in the provinces. 

In the evening, we drove in a cab into Huntriss 
Row, and, alighting near the General Post Office, 
walked to the archway near Simpson's shop, and 
entered the Caf6 by the back entrance. This was 
rendered necessary by the fact that a large and noisy 
crowd had already gathered in front of the Caf6, 
which it would not have been advisable to pass 
through. The crowd extended up close to the arch- 
way, and we passed along its edge as we entered. 
Just at the comer of the archway, some one recog- 
nised my companions, and a few of the mob in the 
immediate neighbourhood, responding to the shout 
of some one, " Here they are, boys ! " rushed towards 
us. But it was too late; we had passed under tEe 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 179 

arch ; and, some tincertainty existing as to our pres- 
ence, the police had no difficulty in preventing anyone 
following us. Only one man, a rough nawy-looking 
fellow evidently under the influence of liquor, got 
close to Mr. Hobson, and, addressing him by my 
name, hurled a foul and savage oath at him. 

A good many people were already in the Caf6, and 
others continued to arrive, until, in all, about fifty 
ladies and gentlemen were assembled. Notwithstand- 
ing the mad mob without, and the deafening bombard- 
ment that was in progress^ most of those within kept 
remarkably cool, some of them with admirable self- 
control partaking of refreshments and chatting. The 
quiet steadfastness of many of the ladies was very 
striking. One had to be inside the Caf6 to realise 
what this meant. 

In view of the threats that had come to the ears 
of the anti-war party, the proprietors of the Caf6 had 
decided to take such precautions as they thought 
necessary for its safety; and late in the afternoon 
shutters within the lower windows were hastily im- 
provised. This was fortunate, for although they were 
insufficient to save the windows, they undoubtedly 
prevented those who attended in the evening from 
receiving serious injury. 

About ten minutes after our arrival, the first ^ 
stone was thrown. It struck the leaded window 
front and broke some of the panes of glass. This 
was the signal for a general bombardment. The 
noise soon became so great that conversation was 
scarcely possible. Stones came into the room through 
the ardhed windows above the door. The roar out- 
side was like the wind and thunder of a South 

M a 



l8o THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

African up-country stonn^ and the pattering of the 
stones like large hail on a corrugated iron roof : the 
resemblance struck me at once. The shutters failed 
to save the windows downstairs, every one of whidh 
was broken, but they prevented the stones from com* 
ing through. Upstairs, where the windows were 
unprotected, the stones crashed through and into the 
tastefully furnished rooms, as we could hear dis- 
tinctly above the noise on the panes and shutters of 
the room in which we were. 

It soon became evident that the whole of the front 
of the beautiful Caf6 had been wrecked, and that 
the gathering could not be proceeded with, and people 
began to wonder what was going to happen, and 
what was to be done. 

About nine o'clock — ^that is, about twenty minutes 
after the bombardment began — the Chief Constable 
(Mr. H. Riches) and the Chairman of the Watch 
Committee (Councillor Valentine Fowler, J.P.) came 
into the Caf6, and urgently appealed to Mr. Joshua 
Rowntree and those standing by him to give up the 
"At Home," and leave the building, and also to 
make it known at once that the public meeting 
called for next evening would be abandoned The 
Chief Constable said the crowd could no longer be 
controlled ; it was too large and too angry, and had 
got quite out of hand ; if the " At Home " were not 
abandoned at once, he said, the police could not pre- 
vent the destruction of the C2I6 building, which 
would be rushed and destroyed, nor could they in 
such a case be responsible for what would occur to 
persons and property. Mr. V. Fowler emphatically 
supported the Chief Constable, repeating in alarm 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR i8i 

that the authorities had lost all contiDl of the crowd, 
and were powerless to avert disaster unless the guests 
at once dispersed, and the public meeting for nesct 
evening were abandoned In his agitation he volun- 
teered the damaging admission, ^'I told our fellows 
to go to the (Tuesda/s) meeting, but to content 
themselves with singing patriotic songs*'; but no 
one, he said, was prepared for what was now hap- 
pening. And indeed it was hardly safe to remain 
longer on the ground floor. No one would have 
been surprised to see the front suddenly give way 
and the frantic crowd pour in. 

In response to the urgent solicitations of the Chief 
Constable and the Chairman of the Watch Committee 
Mr. Rowntree then asked such members of the local 
South African Conciliation Committee as were pre- 
sent to go upstairs with him, where they could hear 
one another speak (which the din downstairs made 
almost impossible) and consider the matter. They 
met in a back upstairs room where the noise was not 
so deafening, Mr. Hobson and I being also present 
When all were assembled, Mr. Rowntree said it was 
most humiliating that two Englishmen who came to 
Scarborough as visitors should not be allowed to 
speak on a matter so complex and so important 
But, he added, the responsibility of preserving order 
rested with the authorities, who now informed them 
that the mob was so large and so violent that they no 
longer could control it, and refused to be responsible 
for anything that might happen if the meeting were 
not at once abandoned. The Committee adopted 
the only possible course : it was decided to disperse 
mt once, and to abandon the pubUc meeting for next 



1 82 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

evening. * This decision was comngiunicated to the 
Chief Constable and Mr. Fowler, who, much per- 
turbed, at once left to make it known to the Im- 
perialists outside. The lights were then turned down, 
leaving the front of the Caf6 in darkness, and the 
guests left amid a storm of groans and hoots, but 
without personal injury except in one or two cases. 
It was suggested that the few of us who were left, 
and whom the mob particularly wanted, might be 
able to get out tmobserved over a wall at the back 
with the aid of the police, but the project did not 
find much favour : it did not seem quite the thing. 

Meanwhile the roar of the crowd and the force of 
the bombardment increased. The noise was like a 
hurricane. In the hope that perhaps the mob might 
begin to disperse when it knew the gathering had 
been abandoned, some half dozen of us waited a 
while. As far as I remember, we were Mr. Joshua 
Rowntree, Mr. J. A. Hobson, Mr. E. R. Cross, Mr. 
W. S. Rowntree, and his daughter (Miss Marion 
Rowntree), and myself. Mr. J. W. Rowntree, the 
owner of the Caf6, who did not intend leaving, was 
also present with one of his assistants. 

As we stood waiting, I for the first time noticed 
that a lady was one of our number. She looked 
about twenty years old, and stood leaning easily 
against the walL Acting without much thought on 
the first and most obvious idea that she might be 
afraid of the wild mob outside, and knowing that as 
time went on, the mob, if it did not disperse (and I 
did not think it would), would become more and more 
mad until a woman's sex would not be much pro- 
tection to her, I went up to her and addressed her. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 183 

saying I did not think she had anything to fear at 
this stage, and that if she would walk out she would 
be safe. I had no sooner spoken than I saw I had 
misjudged her, for she was as cool as though in her 
own house, and by way of answer just smiled 
in the most unconcerned manner. I think I never 
saw a better example of good tempered self-reliance 
and determinatioa One sees this so often in the 
faces of Quakers : no bitterness, but iron determina- 
tion, coupled with a serene and unassertive courage, 
as beautiful as it is rare among humans ; and I think I 
may safely say I never saw it better exemplified than 
in that girl on that horrible night But I was much 
concerned about her, feeling that to some extent I 
was the cause of her danger, and, with the object of 
getting her safely away, went and spoke to one of 
the men (Mr. Hobson, I think) and, pointing out that 
she should not stay any longer but should go away 
at once, before the mob got quite mad, when she 
might be in real danger, asked why she did not go. 
He answered, " She won't go, because you, the guest, 
and her father are in danger. She will go out with 
us." 

Exchanging a few words, we decided to leave at 
once, and vrithout delay sallied out by the back en- 
trance we had come in by. The mob— or rather one 
wing of it — ^was now waiting for us there, and police- 
men stood across imder the arch to prevent them 
from coming in. The moment we passed the police- 
men, the wild mob gathered round us, yelling and 
waving flags — one particularly big one on a long 
pole almost over my head. We turned to the right 
and walked down the pavement away from the halL 



i84 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

From the moment we passed the policemen, I lost 
sight of the other men, and found the lady at my 
side. The reason of this did not occur to me at the 
time, but I have got to understand the ''Friends." 
I am sure now that this was part of their plan for my 
escape from a mob that, to put it mildly, would have 
handled me very roughly if it had recognised me. 
My safety was the one object of these unselfish 
people. The Rowntrees and Mr. Cross were well- 
known public characters, whereas I was quite un- 
known to the mob, and so, for all practical purposes^ 
was the lady. If the men had kept near me, that 
would almost certainly have indicated me to the 
mob. Alone, I was fairly safe; with the lady, 
doubly so; that would be the last thing the mob 
would expect I am confident that all my mea 
friends watched me with untiring care, ready to 
help should I be recc^[nised; but they kept dear 
of me. And that brave girl walked at my side, calm 
and unmoved amid the storm — ^and one has to be 
an unpopular person in a mad mob to know what 
that means. 

We had not gone far when the mob, knowing we 
were among the last to leave the caf6, began its 
attack in a cowardly way as usual. The stronger men 
caught hold of the youngsters and hurled them 
against us. Two were hurled against me with con- 
siderable violence, but I am strong and an old foot- 
ball player, and so kept my balance and my course, 
walking along with apparent unconcern, but intensely 
and alertly watching all that took place. My com- 
panion, however, was naturally not so tough and 
experienced ; so, when a boy was hurled at her from 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 185 

behind with great violence, striking her half on the 
side, she was knocked off the pavement into the 
street, where she strode along alone, calmly passing 
through the Imperialists, who mobbed and surged and 
yelled around her, as I have seen a big dog stride 
through a pack of yelping curs. I at once went up 
to her and gave her my arm, and walked with her 
back to the pavement It was necessary to act 
quickly, in view of the growing impudence and vio- 
lence of the mob, but I had no idea where we were» 
being a total stranger to the place. Without quicken- 
ing our pace we walked down to a cab stand, to which 
she directed me in answer to my inquiries, and up to 
a cab whose driver was in a considerable state of 
perturbation I opened the door, and the lady got 
in, and sat on the seat facing the horse. I took the 
seat opposite and closed the door. A man poked his 
head in through the window at my left shoulder, 
looked at the lady and withdrew again. Turning^ 
my head and looking out of the window to my right, 
as the driver lashed his horse and drove off at a 
great pace, I saw Mr. Cross on the pavement, but 
recognised no others. Some one had knocked his 
hat off, and it looked as though he might be hustled 
a bit, but there was not, as far as I could see, any^ 
real violence against him. My first instinct was 
naturally to pull up the cab and go to his assistance 
in case he should need it, but a moment's thought 
showed me the unwisdom of such an act I argued 
to myself that he would probably not fare very badly 
if dissociated from me, being an important official 
and well known, but that if I went to help him and 
were recognised, as no doubt in such a case I should 



i86 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

soon be, a fray of a serious nature would inevitably 
result; for the others from the caf6 would have 
come in to save me, with the result that there would 
have been a real fight, the outcome of which no one 
could foretell It was clear in a moment that lie 
was much safer without me. Besides which, I had 
seen enough of my companion to know with perfect 
certainty that if I got out she would do so too. So 
I let the cabby go on, as he did at a hand gallop, till 
he had left the mob far behind. Soon all was quiet 
around us. At one time we drove along close to the 
shingly beach of the sea, whose " untumultuous 
surge" peacefully lapped the shining stones. 

When we got down at Mr. Cross's residence, 
while paying the cabby, I asked him why he had 
driven off so hurriedly. "Well, sir," he answered, 
"They'd have turned my cab over, they was that 
mad And I drove off in a wrong direction, too, 
because I was a-feared to turn the horse, which is 
why I was so long a-getting here." 

We were the first arrivals at the house, and were 
welcomed by Mrs. Cross. A few others arrived a 
little later, among them Mr. Brough, the famous 
breeder of blood-hounds. Mr. Cross and Mr. Joshua 
Rowntree had been hustled a bit, but not seriously 
hurt I learnt this afterwards, for, with delicate re- 
finement, not a word was said about it that evening, 
my inquiries being brushed pleasantly aside with a 
smile. We had a quiet chat on South African affairs. 
The lady who had so staunchly stood by me, I now 
for the first time learnt, was Miss Marion Rowntree. 
I heard afterwards through a friend that the man 
who put his head into the cab had asked her ex- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 187 

<:itedly, "Where's that Boer, Schreiner? I want to 
kill him." To which she replied quietly, "I'm 
Miss Rowntree." " Oh, I b^ pardon," said the man, 
and disappeared. In his excitement he had not seen 
'" that Boer " who was within two feet of his head ; 
-while, his face being turned away from me, the 
noise was so great that I had not heard a word he 
said Miss Rowntree's cool and ready answer per- 
liaps prevented an ugly affair. 

Later on, when the guests were leaving, they en- 
countered a noisy gang of youths on their way to Mr. 
Cross's house. Over a fire, we were smoking a cigar 
before turning in, when there was a rii^ at the front 
door. Mrs. Cross quickly arose and said "111 see 
^ho it is," and went out Soon she came back and 
with a smile told us these young men had asked if 
Mr. Schreiner was there! But, as in the case of 
Miss Rowntree, they did not score, for Mrs. Cross 
liad promptly and indignantly asked how they dared 
•come and disturb her household at such a late hour. 
Thereupon, the would-be assailants, baffled, beat a 
•shame-faced retreat 

During the evening, the Chief Constable looked 
in to see if all were safe. He was in a very excited 
-state, and gave us an alarmed description of what 
■was happening — how the property was being wrecked, 
how the police had been stoned (he himself having 
been struck on the head!) and how the whole town 
*was at the mercy of the mob. He was really 
alarmed at the state of affairs. He asked what Mr. 
Hobson and I intended to do in the morning. I re- 
plied : " We are not known ; we'll just walk down to 
'the station and get into the train." Mr. Hobson was 



i88 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

quite prepared to do this. But the Chief Constable^ 
with considerable excitement, said he couldn't allow 
such a thing; we'd be mobbed and perhaps killed. 
He'd let us know later what plan he'd made for get- 
ting us safely away. Later, he came again and said 
that, accompanied by the Chief Detective, he'd come 
in a closed cab with four horses at nine o'clock next 
morning, and drive us to Ganthon Station, eight 
miles out, where we could catch the train to York. 
Then we turned in and went to sleep. 



Part II. 
The Riot in the Town. 

The scenes in the streets that night were unpre* 
cedented in the annals of Scarborough. 

As early as seven o'clock groups of people began 
to assemble in Westborough, in the vicinity of the 
caf6, and long before eight o'clock, the crowd had 
assumed such dimensions that it was with difliculty 
the footpaths could be kept dear, and it was being 
added to every minute. The arrival of a large body 
of police, who formed a cordon round the entrance 
to the caf6, tended rather to attract than diminish the 
crowd, and soon the street was blocked from Aber- 
deen Walk to Huntriss Row. The arrival of a Union 
Jack brought a further augmentation of the crowd ; 
then came a big standard heading a band of riotous 
men and boys, who caused great disturbance by 
pushing and jostling violently. The police kept the 
mob from entering the cafe, but were powerless to 
prevent the stone throwing. Volleys of missiles were 
hurled; huge stones, pieces of bottle, etc, shore 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 189 

through the windows like tissue paper. Then the 
lights were turned down, and all the guests departed, 
except the proprietor of the caf 6, Mr. J. W. Rown- 
tree, and a head-waitress, who remained on the pro- 
perty until the mob had been dispersed at 2 a.m. 

I have related how I got home. Mr. Hobson 
walked home alone, unreo^fnised and unhurt 
Others were not so fortunate. Of these, Mr. W. S. 
Smith, editor of the Advertiser^ fared worst On en- 
tering Huntriss Row, he was seized by two men, 
one of whom cried " Here is Smith, the bloody pro- 
Boer; let's take him into the Club, and teach him 
a lessoa" (That is the Constitutional, a Tory Club.) 
One of these two men was in a military uniform. Mr. 
Smith was struck and severely mauled and dragged 
to the Club door, and would have been carried inside 
but that someone within slammed and locked the 
door. Mr. Jonathan Harwood, a Friend, who pluckily 
remonstrated, was at once brutally assaulted Mr. 
Smith was then released, and proceeded home as well 
as he could, followed by a mob. In the mob was a 
man who when he got a good opportunity struck Mr. 
Smith in the face with a stone which he held in his 
hand, and felled him to the ground. Eventually, 
helped by friends, Mr. Smith reached home at 9.30. 

I have mentioned that Mr. Joshua Rowntree and 
Mr. Cross were hustled. So serious was the attitude 
of the mob towards Mr. Rowntree, that he had to 
seek temporary shelter in a hotel Mr. Rowntree's 
integrity and benevolence have made him many 
friends, even among those who difiFer strongly from 
him on the war. This was exemplified that night 
On two occasions, while Mr. Rowntree was being 
hustled by the imdean and cowardly mob, a young 



190 THE LAND OF FREE* SPEECH, 

man (one of these young men had a brother fighting: 
in South Africa) interfered on his behalf. One of 
them pluckily stemmed the torrent in Mr. Rowntree's 
rear, and addressing those most prominent in the 
assault said, "I don't agree with Mr. Rowntree, but 
I won't stand by and see him struck." He was 
promptly assaulted, but he fought like the man he was. 
Mr. Rowntree did not know of these young men 
till next day, and I do not know that he has ever 
heard their names. All this occurred before 9 o'clock, 
and before the mob had become mad, or the results 
would have been much more serious. 

Soon after 9 o'clock, the mob stretched from 
Vernon Place to North Street, a seething, struggling 
mass. Every window had a complement of excited 
cheering people ; every coign of vantage on the Bar 
Church was occupied, hundreds crowding the cold 
grey stone for half its height, cheering themselves 
hoarse; and on one of the topmost ledges a small 
boy waved a Union Jack amid the plaudits of the 
Imperialists. 

At the caf 6 the riot waxed hotter and hotter ; " half 
bricks, coping stones, macadam, pebbles, pellets, 
crockery from adjoining houses, and what not," says 
a writer to the local Imperialist paper, " went crashing 
through the windows and against the woodwork." 
Here and elsewhere catapults must have been used, 
as even the highest windows and in some cases the 
skylights were shattered; while boys did a thriving 
trade in selling stones to throwers at six a penny. 
On one occasion, a number of the mob joining 
hands surrounded the police at the caf6, and rushed 
them. "The blue-coated giapts pushed and strug- 
gled and shouted," says the same correspondent, " but 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH, igi 

the crowd was too strong, and the wave of humanity 
flung against the railings police, volimteers, soldiers^ 
sailors, militia, and civilians, all in one huge olla 
podrida." Women fainted in terror. Not a pane of 
glass was left in the caf^ and the beautiful leading 
was twisted and contorted An attempt was made 
to wreck the verandah of the caf6, and it would seem 
that some of the mob were bent upon burning the 
building, for a tin of paraffin was actuaUy hurled in 
through the windows. Town councillors, magistrates, 
and leading citizens, were to be seen countenancing or 
urging the mob on to its work of assault and de- 
struction. 

When the cafe was a wreck, there was a lull, which, 
however, was but momentary and presaged an in- 
creased wave of destruction. "Go round to York 
Place," said a well-dressed man, " there are big win- 
dows there." The crowd were being incited and 
similar advice was being given in other parts by 
responsible persons who ought to have known better, 
with the result that the mob, now about eleven 
thousand strong, moved off with what appears to have 
been a well-concerted plan of campaign, which was of 
the nature of war upon the promoters of the meeting 
and their relatives — persons also prominently asso- 
ciated with the anti-liquor movement. Attention was 
first devoted to their business premises within the 
town. A few doors higher up the street, some hand- 
some grocery premises belonging to the owners of 
the caf6 were attacked, and in a short time the plate 
glass windows and the smaller panes above were 
smashed. Then the mob moved further up to the 
furnishing and drapery establishment of Messrs. WnL 
Rowntree and Sons. This is architecturally the 



192 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

handsomest building devoted to business in the town, 
with the largest plate glass windows. This also was 
ruthlessly destroyed. 

It being evident that the police were quite unable 
to cope with the mob, although every available police- 
man was on duty, and as the mob was rapidly be- 
coming more and more violent and reckless, the 
mounted police were called out A dozen mounted 
men rode through the mob endeavouring to disperse 
it. But the mob was now thoroughly aroused; it 
closed up every time the horses passed through, and 
then attacked the mounted police with stones with 
such effect as to render all their endeavours useless. 
Most of these men received injuries more or less 
severe, and one of them was so seriously hurt that he 
was confined to his house next day. 

. The caf 6 and other business premises of the Rown- 
tree interest having been quite wrecked, sections of 
the crowd breaking off set out, in accordance with 
what appears to have been the general plan of cam- 
paign, to wreck their private residences. Mr. W. 
Smith, a stroi^ opponent of the war, had his door 
battered and his windows brokea Between lo and 
1 1 o'clock the drawing room windows of Mr. Joshua 
Rowntree's house in Ramshill Road were smashed 
in. Then came Mr. Wm. Rowntree's turn. This 
venerable gentleman, the patriarch of the Quaker 
community and the senior magistrate of the town, 
was in his ninety-fifth year, and his wife in her nine- 
tieth. His splendid record goes back to the time 
when he refused to be a party to any glorification 
of Wellington. He and his wife lived* a retired life 

* He passed away, full of years and honour^ in January, 
2901, and his wile a few months later. 



£^ 



fOKC 









HDA 



tioi<S 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 193 

in a detached house with Mr. J. H. Rowntree, an un- 
married soa After their long years of consistent 
and all-embracing usefulness, some exemption from 
the hostility of even extreme partisans might have 
been expected But this was not to be. Their gar- 
den was invaded about one o'clock in the morning, the 
door leadii^ to the front of the house was broken 
open, and the gas lamp over the door and the win- 
dows of the house were smashed in by the Imperial- 
ists. Mr. J. W. Rowntree, the senior partner of the 
firm owning the caf6, a member of the Town Council, 
was still in the cs£6 buildii^. At his dwelling house, 
"The Rowans," three-quarters of a mile away, his 
wife was alarmed between one and two o'clock by 
brickbats coming throi^h the windows. She went 
to protect two young children, one of them a cripple 
unable to move, and, while trying to muffle the 
sound from a terrified little girl, was further startled 
by the smashii^ of crockery in the servant girl's bed- 
room, into which stones were being hurled from the 
street. Mr. Allan Rowntree, of Broom Lodge, 
and family were away from home, but the maids were 
awakened by bricks coming through the bedroom 
windows. The assailants, finding a scarcity of mis- 
siles, broke considerable portions from the garden 
wall, with which they smashed the conservatory and 
the windows in nearly all the rooms. The nature of 
the attack may be gathered from the fact that next 
morning bricks by the barrow-load were lying about 
on the floors of the sitting and bed rooms. 

The huge mob was now simply running 
riot, the full strength of the local foot police 
and the moimted police combined being unable 
to quell the disturbance; rather, the police 



194 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

tended to s^;gravate it, and, by showing their help« 
lessness, encoan^;ed the mob to greater excesses. 
Long before the work of destruction was completed, 
it had become apparent that the situation was des- 
perate and required drastic measures. A consulta- 
tion was held by the local authorities as to the advi* 
sabiUty of reading the Riot Act.* Councillor Valen- 
tine Fowler, Chairman of the Watch Committee, was 
first asked as a Justice of the Peace to read it, then 
the deputy Mayor, Councillor Pirie, was asked, but 
the authority of the Town Clerk was needed. So 
Mr. D. A. NichoU was sent for and arrived about 
11.30. Meanwhile, as a last resource, it had been 
decided to call out the military. Telephone messages 
sent to Bumiston Road Barracks found the men 
asleep, but they were at once aroused, and, shortly 
after Mr. Nicholl's appearance, about eighty men 
of the Royal Artillery and the Artillery Militia* 
armed with carbines, were marched down into Scar* 
borough, under the command of Captain W. E. FelL 
They were halted at the Police Station, where they 
remained for some considerable time, whilst a further 
discussion as to the reading of the Riot Act took 
place. It was evident that there was a tendency of 
the mob to proceed to further destruction ; but before 
resorting to the extreme measure of reading the 
Riot Act, it was decided to see what effect the march- 

* The Riot Act of George I. The effect of reading it 
is that people remaining in the street an hour after it is read 
arc gttilty of common law felony, and the police can at 
tiie expiry of the hour use their staves to clear the streets. 
In the event of this being ineffectual, and leading to serious 
fighting, the military would then be legally justified in 
charging the crowd, or even in firing under exceptional 
circumstances ; that is, in case of danger or loss of life. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 195 

ing of the soldiers thzoogfa the streets would hare. 
After marching about for some time, the men were 
halted in Castle Street, where they waited while the 
matter was further discussed between the local 
authorities and Captain Fell They were then 
marched about again, until, at the bottom of Albe- 
marle Crescent, a sufficiently impressive display of 
force having been made to show that extreme 
measures would be resorted to if necessary, Captain 
Fell appealed to the crowd to disperse. The two argu- 
ments — ^the display of force and Uie appeal — ^had their 
due effect on the mob, which had cheered the soldiers 
enthusiastically. The less rowdy element had al- 
ready largely disappeared, seeing things were taking 
a serious turn, and the remainder now gradually dis- 
persed until, at about two a.m., the town was at 
last free from the mob which had infested it, and 
comparative quiet reigned where so much passion and 
rioting had held sway for about seven hours. 

The direct damage done to the Rowntree property 
(very little else was damaged), amounted to about 
;jf 500, but the indirect loss was very much larger. 
The loss to the great cocoa manufacturing firm of 
Rowntree would have been enormous but that both 
the great cocoa firms of Cadbury and Fry (also 
Quakers), with a magnanimity as rare in business 
as beautiful, issued instructions to their travellers to 
take no advantage of the unjust tmpopularity of the 
Rowntrees owing to their disapprove of the war. 

In addition to the damage to property, some half- 
dozen police were injured, and a considerable number 
of private persons more or less severely. Five 
men were arrested during the nighty but all were 
released 

N a 



Ifi6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Part III. 

How Mr. Hobson and I left 

SCARBOROUGR 

About eight o'clock next (Tuesday) morning, the 
Chief Constable appeared at Mr. Cross's house tp 
inform Mr. Hobson and myself that, accompanied by 
the Detective Inspector (Bowerman) in plain clothe% 
he would come in a closed cab and four horses to 
drive us to Ganthon, a quiet country railway station 
eight miles out on the road to York, where we could 
catch the traia He said he would first drive past 
and ascertain whether the "coast was clear" (for 
he thought the house might be watched and an or* 
ganised gang be in readiness to attack us); then, 
if all was quiet, he would halt the cab some Uttle 
distance up the street and come down and tell us. 
We were, he said, to be quite ready to come out at 
once, and, if we had any heavy luggage, we were 
to leave it to be forwarded — ^he would see to it 

About the appointed hour, a two-seated closed cab 
with four fine horses (which would have given a good 
account of themselves if chased — a contingency 
which, I think, the Chief Constable considered not 
quite improbable) drove past We rightly guessed 
this might be our cab. A minute or two afterwards^ 
the Chief Constable appeared; all seemed dear, 
he said, but he urged us to come quickly before any 
attention was attracted. Bidding our kind hosts a 
hurried good-bye, and taking our bag in hand, we 
were soon in the cab, which stood a little distance up 
the street The windows were drawn up, and away 
we went at a swinging trot, the detective, who sat on 
the opposite seat with Mr. Hobson, stealing glancet 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH, rp; 

at me with great curiosity. Wc avoided all thorough- 
fafes Kkely to be frequented, and soon were out of 
the town in the beautiful peaceful country. It was 
a pleasant drive to Ganthon, and the horses were 
urged on so briskly that we arrived at the station 
nearly half an hour before our train was due. We 
were put down and the carriage drove away. As 
I shook hands with our escort, I knew I was saying 
good-bye to one of the few constables that had ful- 
filled their duty as custodians of the public peace to 
the very best of their ability. 

We took our tickets for London and waited for 
the train. The vehicle and the horses and the 
Kveried driver constituted so pretentious a turn-out 
that I felt certain it would attract attention at so 
rustic a spot, and that the half hour we had to wait 
would give the few workmen about there time to 
ruminate. After about fifteen minutes, I left Mr. 
Hobson at the door of the little waiting room and 
went in to consult a time-table. While thus em- 
ployed, I heard a violent voice outside Suspecting 
something wrong I stepped out and found Mr. Hob- 
son indignantly regarding a rough-looking man who 
was standing close up to him in a most threatening 
attitude and armed with a heavy crook stick, while in 
a loud and agitated voice he was calling Mr. Hobson a 
** Bo-er." I took him to be a farm labourer or navvy. 
He was a powerfully made man about 5 feet 8 inches or 
9 inches in height, dressed in rough well worn clothes» 
with his trousers tied with bands below the knee so 
that they just topped his heavy boots. When 1 
joined Mr. Hobson, his excitement increased, and be 
loudly and repeatedly shouted that we were *' Bo-ers.'* 
Mr. Hobson had abeady addressed some words to 



198 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

him. I think it not unUkely that, if I had not come 
on the scene, he might have attacked Mr. Hobson, for 
he was capable of anythin^^ being ahnost demented 
with excitement and anger. I addressed a few words 
of warning to him, and he stood a little further off, 
gazing at us as though mad, with his blazing eyes 
almost starting from his head; but he could ejacu* 
late nothing except that we were " Bo-ers/' He was 
thoroughly convinced that at last he had before him 
two of those awful creatures, and he r^^arded us with 
mingled amazement and horror. If the Prince of 
Darkness had suddenly appeared, or if horns and tails 
had sprouted forth on us^ he could not have looked 
more fascinated and horror-struck than he was. I 
cautioned him that if he persisted I should report him 
to the station master and have him removed ; where- 
upon he walked along the railway platform and 
shouted to some workmen on the line that we were 
^'Bo-ers," brandishing his stick excitedly, watchii^ 
us with one eye, as though he expected we might 
disappear in a sulphurous flash, while with the other 
eye he looked for the traia "This is awkward," 
said Mr. Hobson, " he'll give us away.'* And so he 
did, for when the train pulled up, he shouted madly 
to the passengers that " Bo-ers " were there, indicat* 
ing us with his stick. The station master spoke 
sharply to him, but he only sheered off a little, and 
shouted louder than ever even after the train moved 
away. In the carriage Mr. Hobson remarked that, 
although this man reminded him of demented 
peasants he had read about, he had nevertheless 
shown considerable power of intuition in inferring 
that we were " Boers." 
It must be confessed that the situation was not 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 199 

pleasant The train had to stop at one station on 
the way, and we had about half an hour to wait at 
York We decided that it would be wise to erase our 
names from our portmanteaus, and also to part im- 
mediately on the railvray platform at York as though 
strax^^ers. 

When the train stopped at the intermediate station, 
it at once became clear that our demented peasant 
had aroused suspicion, for a number of people 
gathered at our carriage window and regarded us 
curiously. We both read with glasses, and we were 
shaven and quietly dressed As we sat quietly with 
our books, and were so unlike the mythiod Boer that 
was in the mind of the average Englishman, the on- 
lookers were evidently puzzled. **I don't know,** 
said a man, in answer to some query ; " but they got 
in at Ganthon." A tall, moustached man was promin- 
ent and foremost Looking up from my book and 
putting my head to the open window, I asked, with 
a smile, "What is the matter?'' It happens that, 
being English, I speak my native tongue without any 
foreign accent ~ The man smiled fooUshly and turned 
and said something to a companion at his side. Just 
then someone further back shouted '^ Three cheers 
for Schreiner ; " but there was no response ; instead, 
the station master came and told them to behave 
themselves, and soon after the train steamed out 

But we had York before us, with the knowledge 
that our presence was suspected Immediately on 
arrival there, we stepped out independently. Mr. 
Hobson went in one direction, and, giving my port- 
manteau to a porter and telling him I was for Lon- 
don, I walked off in another. Next instant I saw Mrs. 
Arthur Rowntree. I had left a wire to be forwarded 



aoo THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

from Scarbonsfugh (withoat 'my name) telling her, as 
I had prof^esied I should, of the destruction of the 
cafe, and that I was going through to Londoa On 
receiving it she had pluckily come across to meet me. 
We went into the town to have a cup of coffee at the 
house of one of her friends. We passed a consider- 
able number of railwaymen in the street, and Mrs. 
Rowntree remarked with a chuckle what a time we'd 
have if they only knew I was amongst them! The 
London train was actually moving off as I stepped 
into it There was no sign of my luggage, but I 
guessed it would be all right Opposite to me sat 
a pleasant-faced, portly old gentleman, reading with 
absorbing interest a full account of what had occurred 
last evening at Scarborough. I amused myself with 
speculating on the start the old gentleman would get 
if he knew the dreadful ogre was actually sitting by 
him. At the first halt, I found Mr. Hobson with my 
luggage, and joined him in his compartment As we 
drove off in a cab from King's Cross to Victoria, I 
agreed that it was pleasant to get into London 
and be buried for a while among its seething millions. 

Early on Tuesday morning notices to the effect 
that the meeting for that evening had been aban- 
doned were posted up outside the old Town Hall at 
Scarborough; and the caf6 and the other wrecked 
premises were well barricaded Yet, notwithstand- 
ing the formal abandonment of the meeting, it was 
considered necessary by the authorities^ in view of 
the tempn of the crowd the previous evening and the 
rumours and threats which filled the air, to take every 
precaution to prevent another riot The whole of the 
polioe force, except three men injured the previous 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH, aoi 

oifht, were cm duty, and, in addition, the militarjr 
weie held in readiness. At seven o'clock, one hon* 
dred men from the Bumiston Road Barracks arrived 
in the town and were quartered at the Town Hall, 
while another hundred men were kept at the barracks 
ready to be called out Colonel Burton, R^, the 
officer in command, was in attendance at the Town 
Hall, and the chairman of the Watch Committee re* 
mained for the evening in Scarborough instead of 
going to his residence at Scalby. The police 
paraded the streets from seven o'clock, and promptly 
stopped any tendency to rowdyism or flag-waving or 
congregating in any spot With these elaborate pre- 
cautions, the thousands of people that thronged the 
streets were dispersed by eleven o'clock, after which 
the town resumed almost its nonnal appearance. 

Part IV. 

The Organisation of the Riot ; the Local 

Authorities ; the Police. 

A riot quite unprecedented in the annals of Scar* 
borough, one of the worst that occurred during the 
height of the war frenzy, a riot with which the full 
force of the borough had been unable to cope, the 
mob having stoned both the foot and mounted poUoe» 
held possession of the town for seven hours, 
assaulted persons and destroyed ;f 500 worth of 
proper t y, and necessitated the calling out of the 
military — ^took place on the 12th of the month. It 
might have been expected that the local authorities 
would have met promptly and investigated the matter. 
Not so» however. It was actually not until the 23rd 
that the Watch Committee met for the first time. 



302 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

When it did meet, the Chief Constable presented a 
report which the Town Clerk advised should be sent 
to the Public Prosecutor. This was, however, re* 
jected by the Tory members, who carried an amend* 
ment proposed by Councillor Sanderson, ''that the 
Committee do not send any communication whatever 
to the Public Prosecutor, but that the police be in- 
structed to give any facility to private persons in 
any proceedings which they might institute against 
known offenders."* 

The bearing of this resolution will be seen when 
the following fact is considered. On the 2ist of the 
month, the Rowntrees and Mr. Smith (the sole severe 
suif erers, and the only people likely to institute pri- 
vate proceedings) had addressed a letter to the Press 
(the full text of which is given later on in this chap* 
ter), saying that they had no intention of proceeding 
against anyone, or of claiming any compensation for 
the damages sustained, but would bear such damages 
themselves. Consequently, there being no likelihood 
of any private proceedings being instituted, the Com- 
mittee perhaps thought it had blocked off all further 
developments by shirking its obvious duty.t 



* Councillors Fowler, Eaman, Broadwood, Sanderson, 
and Stephenson, all Tories, voted £<»* the amendment. 
Against it were the Mayor, and Councillors Pirie, Bland, 
and Sinfield. Of these, the Mayor was a Tozy, the other 
three being Liberals. The Mayor behaved like an honour* 
able man. It was said that some well-known and prominent 
local Imperialists feared they themselves might be pro- 
ceeded against for complicity in the riot. Mr. Fowler is the 
same gentleman who was Chairman of the Watch Com- 
mittee. The majority (Imperialist) maintained that there 
had been no riot! 

t Mr. Balfour in the Free Speech debate in the House of 
Commons said : ** The local authorities are responsible both 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 203 

But this practical condonati<Mi of the riot was not 
^o go quite unchallenged On the 36th, another 
tspedal meeting was called, this time hurriedly. Only 
-three Councillors were present It appears that what 
was said on the 23rd was intended to be kept 
tsecret ; the only intimation given to the Press being 
that an adjournment had been agreed upon for a 
week, and no resolution adopted But somethii^ of 
^hat actually happened had leaked out apparently, 
somewhat to the consternation of the Committee^ 
which now met in some alarm to consider a letter 
from a firm of solicitors, placing before the authori- 
ties sworn evidence implicating certain persons. 
These depositions practically forced the local authori- 
ties into action, under penalty of being suspected of 
hushing up a criminal case. It appears that the Com- 
mittee had been advised that their resolution of the 
23rd was ultra vires, and that they now began to 
iear the police grant might be stopped Thus were 
the Committee forced to take action; but, as might 
liave been expected action taken under such drcum- 
-stances did not prove as effective as it might have 
done under more honourable conditions. 

On the 7th of April claims for compensation by the 
owners of the property adjoining the Caf6* were sub- 
mitted to the Committee, which had already been 
advised by Mr. £. H. Carson, Q.C., M.P., that those 
-who had suffered damage were dearly entitled to 
compensation. A special Committee consisting of 
Councillors Fowler, Pirie^ and Sanderson, was ap- 
pointed to report on the matter. For some months 

'for the maintenance of order and for the punishment of 
transgressors.'' 
^ In no way connected with the Rowntrees or Mr. Smith. 



ao4 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

this Committee (on which, it may be inferred, Mr. 
Pirie had not much power) actually declined to pay 
for the damage done to the premises adjoining those 
of Messrs. Rowntree, on the ground that there had 
been no riot ! But eventually they climbed down, ad- 
mitted the riot, and paid the damages. At last, also, 
pressure induced the Watch Committee to send the 
Chief Constable's report to the PubUc Prosecutor. 

On the 2nd May, nearly two months after the riot, 
twenty-one persons were arraigned before the magis* 
trates. The Chairman of the Watdi Committee pre- 
sided, presumably with satisfaction to the defendantSL 
The members of the Town Council who incited the 
weaker brothers were not so much as named during 
the proceedii^s. Five persons were convicted of 
stone-throwing and fined, in the aggregate, ;f 3 5s., in- 
cluding costs, and two men were bound over to keep 
the peace. The majesty of the British Law was vin- 
dicated; people in high positions again breathed 
freely ; and the " unco* guid " of Scarborough flaunted 
their virtue and impartiality before a pubUc that 
winked its eye. It was the Raid farce over again on 
a small scale. 

It will be remembered that the riot occurred in 
connection with a purely private social function to 
which a few ladies and gentlemen had been invited by 
Mr. Rowntree — ^as private a gathering as if it had 
been held in Mr. Rowntree's own house. 

But, with regard to the meeting which was to have 
been held next evening, it should be noted that this 
was simply a public lecture, at which no resolution on 
the war or anything else was to have been proposed. 
A lecture by a British South African ¥rith a thorough 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH, dos 

knowledge of his subject was to have been deUvered 
on the conditions for obtaining a durable peace to 
South Africa. The meeting had been got up by 
leading men, among them a Magistrate, an ex*M.P., 
a Town Councillor, and the Magistrate's Clerk (Mx; 
E. R Cross, LL.B.). The constitution of the Com- 
mittee was an earnest that no violence was expected. 
The question of the settlement of South Africa was 
being generally discussed, and I had advocated no 
more than, before the war began, the Ministry had 
repeatedly said they desired. 

The newspapers had been violent against me. 
making, as usual, the most untruthful and mischievous 
insinuations. Not only did the leaders of the Press 
stir up feeling against me and those who were respon- 
sible for my coming, but they were ably seconded, if 
not siupassed, by the leaders of the club room, the 
bar-parlour, and the Church. Notwithstanding this, 
the Committee had no direct evidence to lead them to 
think there would be a riot They received no warn- 
ing until the day before the private gathering, when 
information reached Mr. Rowntree which, however, 
was of a kind he could take no notice of. But a sig- 
nificant circumstance occurred on the Monday. At 
the Council meeting. Councillor Topham gave himself 
away somewhat Several Councillors were in doubt 
as to whether the ** Peace *' meeting, as they called it, 
which had been arranged for the following evening, 
had been abandoned. Some asserted that it had, others 
that it had not Councillor Topham, however, set 
them all at rest by loudly declaring " Whether it has 
been abandoned or not, there will be no meeting." 
It will be remembered, too, that when Councillor VI 
Fowler, Chairman of the Watch Committee, came into 



\ 



so6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

the Caf6 with the Chief Constable, he said in ao' 
apologetic tone, losing his reticence in his agitation,. 
" I told our fellows to go to the meeting but to con- 
tent themselves with singing patriotic songs." Who- 
were " our fellows," and where did they meet ? Were 
they of the Constitutional Club? Was the plan of 
campa^ organised there? Why was one o^ the 
chief assailants of Mr. Smith a prominent member ot 
that club ? And why was an attempt made to drag 
Mr. Smith into the Club to deal with him there in 
that resort of the gentlemen of England ? ^ The whole 
affair/' says the Eastern Morning News, " it is freely 
stated, was arranged within the walls of a party dub." 
It appears that the arrangements were so complete 
that a band had actually been engaged to play patri- 
otic airs outside the old Town Hall from a car decora- 
ted with lamps and Union Jacks. The systematic 
manner, too, in which the business and private houses 
of the promoters of the meetii^, often hx apart, were 
sought out and wrecked, seems to point to a system- 
atically prearranged plan. The Yorkshire Morning 
Post remarked that the ^demonstration" was ''de- 
liberately undertaken and of set purpose " Promin- 
ent men incited the mob in its work of destructioiL 
Affidavits, it was stated, were made by two persons 
of good standing to the effect that a Town Councillor 
offered them a sovereign to begin breaking the win- 
dows of one of the Rowntree premises. These indi- 
cations, coupled with the action of the Watch Com- 
mittee and the trial farce, seem to indicate that there 
was a systematically organised riot, and that promin- 
ent men were coimected with it 
As to how the Tories viewed it all afterwards, let 
Charles Legard, President of the Constitutional 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 207 

Club»* speak. In proposing success to the Scar- 
borough Constitutional Sports Club, a few days after 
the riot, he said : 

''When he took up his morning paper on Tues- 
day, he felt that the loyalty and patriotism of the 
borough had been vindicated (Applause.) He had 
been closely connected with the borough for nearly 
thirty years, and he was glad to see that Scarborough 
had not failed in its duty on that occasion. (Ap- 
plause.) " 

Of course he qualified this by the pious declaration 
that "he was not one who advocated rioting." His 
reference to the " chaos " he saw on Tuesday morning 
produced " laughter," while his joy that the town was 
not to pay the damage, and his sneer at the Rown- 
tree letter, were greeted with "hear, hear." Such is 
Imperialism ! A short time before, this fine old Eng- 
lish Tory had expressed a wish to see the Rown- 
trees "drummed out of the town." 

The ideas that centred round myself may be illus- 
trated by three facts. One correspondent to the 
Press said that " to entertain and support a man like 
Mr. Cronwright Schreiner is perilously near acting 
the part of a traitor." Another said, "we have a 
right to ask our Government to order that Dutch 
fire-brand, Schreiner, to leave these islands within 
twenty-four hours," and went on to refer to my wife 
as an "hysterical spit-fire," But the horror with 
which I was regarded is perhaps better illustrated by 
a letter I received at breakfast on the morning after 



* The Constitutional Club is the headquarters of the Torjr 
party in Scarborough. A sports club, a branch of the larger 
organisation, is attached for the younger members. 



2o6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

the riot It bore the postmark of the 13th, and ran 
as follows: — 

" We — the two girk that assisted you last night — 
wish you to know that it was only an act of charity^ 
and that we are truly British. 

"We do not in any way agree with you or your 
up-holders. 

" We think you should be warned not to try else- 
where. 

" In no other country would you be allowed to do 
this kind of thing, and do you not think it is taking 
a mean advantage of the freedom of our land ? 

"What would have been said to emissaries or 
agents of ours if sent to either of the African Re- 
publics ? 

" They would have been arrested at least ; if not 
shot!" 

The letter was undated and unsigned 

I was a bit puzzled, until Mr. Hobson explained 
that, while walking up during the riot, two girls, see- 
ing him undecided as to his course, came and told 
him where Mr. Cross lived. They had evidently mis- 
taken him for me. 

The letter is further interesting as showing how 
good-hearted, well-intentioned people had been mis- 
led by the Imperialist Press. 

I conclude this chapter, which relates so disgrace- 
ful a riot and so low a standard of manliness and 
honour and justice, with the Rowntree letter, which 
almost redeems the fair fame of Scarborough. It 
was almost worth having the riot to have so fine a 
doctunent laid before the public. It had a wide 
circulation. 









Mf 



nS 



^ 



in& «8W YORK 

i^UBLIC LIBRART 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 209 

" To the Editor of the Evening News. 

" Sir, — It is our desire that the sores arising from 
the recent visit of Mr. Cronwright Schreiner to Scar- 
borough may speedily be healed, and as one contribu- 
tion to this end, we wish to state that it is not our in- 
tention to make any claim against the Borough Fund 
for property damaged or destroyed during the riots 
which occurred on the night of the reception given by 
one of our ntmiber. 

" The loss of property, though not light to some of 
us, is as nothing compared with the peril to which 
some of those dearer to us than life were that night 
exposed ; or with the loss of free speech won for tt9 
by brave men and women of old. 

" We respectfully submit to our fellow-countrymen 
of all creeds and parties that the wreckage of build- 
ings, and especially midnight assaxilts on the homes 
of women, children, and aged persons, are acts of 
cruel lawlessness which nothing can justify. 

"Inquiries made §eem to show that the violence 
was chiefly the result of the delusion that the visitor 
to our town, a colonial fellow subject of British blood, 
who had come to lecture on 'The conditions of a 
durable pczce in South Africa,' was a Boer, whose 
life might fairly be taken ; and that it was encouraged 
by some who are supposed to know better. Edmund 
Burke's entreaty to his fellows — 'so to be patriots 
as not to forget to be gentlemen,' seems still to be 
needed. 

** We are at one in desiring the honour and great- 
ness of our country ; we are intensely anxious for the 
good name of the British Empire amongst the nations 
of the eartL But we hold that the fostering of pre- 
judice and enmity, even against our foes, is in the 

o 



210 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

long run hurtful to ourselves; and that injustice to 
strangers never leads to justice to our own people. 

" Our convictions on some great questions are, we 
know, different from those of the majority of our 
fellow-countrymen ; but for these convictions we must 
repder our account not to men but to God 

" If we are wrong, resort to lynch law will not set 
us right, whilst it inflicts serious injury on the whole 
community. 

"We desire to acknowledge, with sincere thanks, 
many expressions of support and sympathy from both 
strangers and friends. History often has to reverse 
the popular verdicts of the day, and we believe it will 
reverse the verdict of violence which has been given 
against us. 

Yours truly, 

"William Rowntree, 
"Joshua Rowntreb, 
"W. S. Rowntree, 
"James H* Rowntree, 
"Allan Rowntree, 
"John Watson Rowntree, 
"Geore Rowntree, 
"William Smith. 
"Scarborough, 21st March, 1900." 

Such people are the soul of a nation. 

At the General Election in October, 1900, a Liberal, 
an anti-Chamberlain man, was elected for Scar« 
borough with a majority larger than that of the Lib- 
eral member at the previous election. The successful 
candidate had the support of the Rowntree interest 
The election agent, when asked the reason for this 
unexpected increased majority, said it was due to my 
visit! Thus did time bring its revenge. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

LEEDS, I4TH MARCH. 

From Scarborough I was to have gone to Leeds, 
but, it will be remembered, I went direct to London. 

On Monday, the 12th, before I left York, Mr. W. 
McD. Mackey, Assistant Secretary of the Leeds Com- 
mittee, came over to tell me they could get no hall 
in Leeds for the meeting, under conditions to be 
presently related. So the meeting had to be aban- 
doned There was, however, he said, an open-air 
meeting to be held at Vicar's Croft, in Leeds, on 
Sunday, the i8th, at which it was desired I should 
speak. He urged me to come over, and promised a 
body guard of two hundred Irishmea I reckon two 
hundred fighting Irishmen would cut their way 
through any mob. I promised to try to be present, 
but, as wiU be seen later, this meeting was never 
held. 

The Peace movement began in Leeds before the 
war broke out A Transvaal Committee, of which 
the Rev. G. Watt Smith was Hon. Secretary, was 
formed. A mass meeting was then held in the Coh- 
seum, the largest hall in Leeds, at which the Rev. 
Charles Hargrove presided, the principal speakers 
being Messrs. Scott, Maddison, Lentz, and Souttar, 
all M.P.'s. 

Nothing further was done until some time after the 
war began, when Mr. Arnold Lupton, by means of 
advertising, got a number of people together at a 
meeting in the Philosophical HaU. An attempt was 

( 2X1 ) oa 



212 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

made to rush the meeting by a crowd composed 
mostly of students, but no serious disturbance took 
place, as the promoters of the meeting managed to 
keep the rowdies out 

Eventually a branch of the South African Concil- 
iation Comittee was formed. Meetings were held 
in various parts of the city, but were not well 
attended, with the exception of a lecture by the Rev, 
Philip Wicksteed, which was most successful 

Then I was asked to speak at Leeds tmder the 
auspices of the local branch of the South African Con- 
ciliation Committee, and the 14th March was fixed 
for the meeting. The Committee engaged the Phil- 
osophical Hall, but, when news came of the Glasgow 
and Edinburgh riots, the Council of the Philosophical 
Society, on the loth March, informed the South 
African Conciliation Committee that they could not 
not have the Hall, as they feared the place would 
be damaged 

Mr. Arnold Lupton, a most determined man, 
offered to place ;^500 or even ;^ 1,000 in the hands of 
the Society as a guarantee fund against any damage, 
and further promised to barricade any valuable effects 
that might be in danger of injury. (Attached to the 
Hall is a Museum.) The Philosophical Society, how- 
ever, persisted in its refusal The papers had been 
working up and exciting the population with the 
usual Boer atrocity lies and appeals to " patriotism " ; 
the Yorkshire Evening Post had actually gone so far 
as to spread the rumour that Dr. Leyds might shortly 
"join Mr. Leonard Courtney's Conciliation Com- 
mittee " ; and now it began to be said in Leeds that 
Dr. Leyds was the guarantor behind Mr. Lupton's 
offer. As neither this Hall nor any other hall could 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 213 

be got for any meeting at which it was even sup- 
posed I might be present, the meeting had to be 
abandoned, notwithstanding Mr. Lupton's, the Rev. 
G. Watt Smith's and Mr. Macke/s most determined 
eflForts. 

Before any trouble had arisen over my proposed 
visit, the South African Conciliation Committee had 
decided that an open-air meeting should be held in 
Vicar's Croft on Sunday, the i8th March, similar to 
one that had been held there some time before. 
Vicar's Croft is a large covered market, and it seems 
that, owing to some right of holding meetings on that 
spot before it was covered in, the City Cotmcil had 
never interfered with Sunday meetings there, the 
gates being especially left open for the purpose of 
such meetings. Various sections of Labour politi- 
cians were accustomed to hold meetings there, formal 
and informal, every Sunday. 

As, throughout the war, the local Labour leaders 
had been mainly on the side of peace, as had also the 
Irish, this meeting was organised for the purpose of 
allowing Labour, both English and Irish, to protest 
against the war. The demonstration would have 
been a huge one; some thousands of Peace men 
would have assembled whom no war mob could have 
dispersed. 

So the Imperialists set to work. Money was forth- 
coming. When the meeting was advertised, there 
was the usual spontaneous outburst of " patriotism " ; 
bills were posted over the South African Conciliation 
Committee posters urging the public to "Give 'em 
a Scarborough welcome." It was also said that 
I vncs to be present. So another large poster was 
put up by the patriots, " Schreiner, the Boer, and 



214 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

other Traitors/' etc. I give photographs of these 
two posters. 

The result was that a number of stall-holders peti- 
tioned the Markets Committee (a sub-Committee of 
the City Council), to stop the meeting at Vicar's 
Croft on the score of probable damage to the pro- 
perty. Their petition was successful; notice was 
served on the South African Conciliation Committee 
that the meeting woiild not be allowed, and that on 
the day in question the gates would be closed. 

On the surface, this move to stop the meeting 
may appear spontaneous, but one may be excused for 
doubting this, if, in connection with it, one considers 
the fact that no hall could be obtained in the town for 
my meeting on any terms whatever, and that a lead- 
ing Imperialist paper openly, if somewhat indiscreetly, 
boasted that, in the matter of Vicar's Croft and the 
halls, the South African Conciliation Committee had 
been outwitted by the Imperialists behind the appar- 
ently spontaneous movement 

A few extracts from the local papers will give some 
idea of Imperialist methods. 

From the Yorkshire Evening Post: — 

*'Out upon the pro-Boers and all their works^ 
should surely be the cry of patriotic Englishmen." 
1st February. 

** From obituary columns yesterday : Mr. McLach- 
lan, jua — Shot in the Market Square, Harrismith, 
Orange Free State, for refusing to fight against His 
own countrymen. John McLachlan, jun., aged thirty 
years, eldest son of John McLachlan, of Wandsworth, 
and grandson of the late John McLachlan, of Lam- 
kcth."— 1st February. 



g -a ; 1 I 









r; 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH, 215 

(McLachlan was alive and well at the time, as be 
is to-day, the whole stoiy having been proved to be 
a wilful inventioa) 

" The Rev. Carlton, said to be a Wesleyan Minister 
in the Transvaal, who was allowed to remain in the 
country on permit, has been shot dead by a Boer 
woman as the result of a poUtical dispute." — 7th Feb- 
ruary. (Has proved to be equally imtrue.) 

" When pro-Boers, following out the poHcy, if not 
the actual wishes, of Dr. Leyds, deliberately go into . 
towns duly moved by patriotism and bereavement, 
and insult the living and the dead by extolb'ng the 
nation's enemies, they do what is not only foolish but 
wicked, and openly invite the ill-usage they after- 
wards receive." — 0th March. 

" Stop-the-war meetings are announced all over 
the country, in accordance, it is believed, with the 
instructions of Dr. Leyds and the emissaries he has 
sent to this country to work up a pro-Boer agitation." 
— 12th March. (This when, rightly or wrongly, I have 
always been an opponent of Dr. Leyds.) 

" It is quite feasible, of course, for Englishmen to 
desire a speedy and honourable conclusion of the war, 
and to meet together to discuss the best means of 
securing this. But the present pro-Boer agitation 
in this country, with Mr. Cronwright Schreiner as 
its chief exponent, is so palpably got up to boom 
the Boer cause, to extol the Boer's humanity and 
bravery, and to depreciate British motives and pluck, 
that it is not surprising the patriotic feeling of the 
people has deemed it an insult" — 12th March. From 
the Yorkshire Post (This when, as at Leicester, 
I had openly expressed my sympathy with the British 
soldier.) 



2i6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

"Not only have they (the Peace Party) chosen 
absurdly to raise a feeble cry at this moment when 
Stop-the-war is sedition to loyal ears» but they have 
taken up with a gentleman (ie., Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner) of such credentials that the crowd which 
draws no fine distinction is sure to treat him as a 
talker from the enemy's camp." 9th March (This 
in spite of the fact that it was well known I was a 
British Outlander.) 



J 



CHAPTER XV. 

LIVERPOOL AND BIRKENHEAD. 
I5TH MARCH. 

Though my contemplated visit to Liverpool and 
Birkenhead was in connection with the Aborigines 
Protection Society of Liverpool, yet a few words on 
the South African Conciliation Committee of that 
place, many of whose members it had been arranged 
I should meet, will not be out of place. 

The South African Conciliation Committee of 
Liverpool and district was formed on the 4th Janu- 
ary, and an Executive Committee, of which Sir John 
T. Brunner, Bart., M.P., was chairman, and Mr. 
Allan H. Bright, Vice-chairman, was elected two 
weeks later. In July the South African Conciliation 
Committee numbered 790 members, whose numbers 
were always increasing, with an Executive Committee 
of twenty-five. It has distributed about 92,000 leaflets 
giving information on the subject of South Africa. 
In addition to several other meetings, a large and 
successful public meeting, with admission by ticket, 
was held on* 30th May in the Rotunda Lecture Hall» 
at which 2,000 persons were present Sir John T. 
Brunner was in the chair, and the Right Hon. 
Leonard Courtney, M.P., was the chief speaker, others 
being Mr. F. Maddison, M.P., and (local men) Mr. 
Allan H. Bright, Mr. W. Crosfield, J.P., the Rev. R. A. 
Armstrong, and Mr. R. R. Meade-King. Full precau- 
tions were taken, over 150 stewards being enrolled 
and placed in position within the hall half an hour 
before the doors were opened. As the entrance was 

( 217 ) 



2i8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

lined with them, as far as could be seen from outside 
many rowdies were deterred from entering. The 
meeting was successfully carried through, amidst 
much enthusiasm, though not quite unanimously. 

One or two incidents of mob rule may be men- 
tioned. 

On the 28th February, when the announcement 
of the relief of Ladysmith was received, the office 
of the Committee was entered and the posters with 
the names of the Committee torn down and de- 
stroyed. 

On the same day when the Exchange News Room, 
Liverpool, was crowded, between 11 and 12 o'clock, 
Mr. C. H. Keets, who was not a member of the South 
African Conciliation Committee, but who had been 
a subscriber to the Liverpool Transvaal Committee 
formed before the war, was assaulted by the crowd 
:gathered thereiiL A picture of General Buller, which 
was beii^ crowned with a wreath, was broken upon 
liim, and he was thrown over a large counter. 



Part I. 

The Aborigines Protection Society of 

Liverpool. 

The Aboriginees Protection Society of Liverpool 
liad asked me to address them on " The Native Ques- 
tion in South Africa," and had arranged for the meet- 
ing to be held at the Common Hall, Hackins Hey, 
on Thursday, the 15th March, at 4 p.m. The meet- 
ing was to be a perfectly private one, tea was to be 
served, and admission to both ladies and gentlemen 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 219 

^as solely by invitation, and entrance strictly by 
ticket. The ticket was as follows : — 

Hboridinea protection Society. 

The Executive Committee have pleasure in inviting 
you to meet 

Mr. S. C. CRONWRIGHT SCHREINER, 
/it the Common Hall^ Hackins H^, at 4 p.m., on 
Thursday, March i$th. 

Mr. Schreiner will speak upon 
'' The Native Question in South Africa!^ 

Tickets for friends you may wish to bring with you 
may he obtained from 

J. KsNRicK Wblby, 67, Lord Street. 
RiCHD. Robinson, 11, Old Hall Street. 

Tea and Coffu at 3-45. 

As the hall is a small one, only 250 invitations 
^ere issued, that number of persons being sufficient 
to fill it 

In view of the disturbances at the various towns 
through which I had passed with the object of hold- 
ing meetings, the Committee, two days before the 
meeting, applied for police protection. The Head 
Constable, Mr. Nott-Bower, informed them that the 
police would not interfere in regard to the meeting 
or inside the hall, as a by-law prohibited their pres^ 
«ence inside a meeting ; they would only go if called 
in, in case of a distinct breach of the peace! He 
^d he did not consider " rough and tumble " disturb* 
ances a distinct breach of the peace ; but he promised 



MO THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

to protect the meeting from a rush from outside. 
Next day, however, when the news of the riot at 
Scarborough was published, he telephoned to the 
Secretary that, in consequence of these disturbances^ 
it was his duty formally to protest against the meet- 
ing being held ; his protest to this eflFect would at once 
be forthcoming unless he were promptly assured that 
it would be abandoned. 

A consultation of the officers of the Society was 
summoned, and it was decided to abandon the meet* 
ing. In consequence, the following notice was 
issued : — 

ABORIGINES' PROTECTION SOCIETY. 
(LIVERPOOL BRANCH.) 

Liverpool, March 13 th, 1900. 
Dear Sir or Madam, — In consequence of represen- 
tations received from the Head Constable's office 
to-day, it has been reluctantly decided to abandon 
the meetiz^ announced for Thursday, at 4 p.m. 
Kindly note, therefore, that the meeting will not take 

place. 

Yours truly, 

J. Kenrick Welby, 

Hon. Treasurer. 

RiCHAitD Robinson, 

Hoa Secretary. 

A notification of the abandonment of the meet- 
ing was also sent to Mr. Nott-Bower, Head Con- 
stable, and duly acknowledged by him on the I4ttv 
the day preceding the date of the meeting. 

The Committee afterwards had information from 
the Junior Conservative Club that an organised 
attempt had been arranged to break up the meeting. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 221 

Their informant was a member of the club in ques- 
tion. 

Thus Imperialism in Liverpool kept up its di^[race* 
ful reputation. As an example of the licence the 
Imperialists allowed themselves, and the manner in 
which they incited to violence, the following extract 
from a speech delivered by Mr. Thompson, Conserv- 
ative Agent, at a meeting of the Vauxhall Ward 
Conservatives held in Liverpool on the 8th of March, 
and reported in the Liverpool Courier of the 9th, is 
instructive: — 

" He noticed," said this Conservative Agent, " that 
Mr. Lloyd-George, M.P., had been in Glasgow, where 
he spoke on behalf of the Boers at a Peace Meeting. 
Now, he warned Mr. George, if he had any regard 
for his skin, that, in the present temper of the loyal 
and enthusiastic citizens of Liverpool, he had better 
not come within fifty miles of this city." 

Can it be considered strange if one infers that, to 
put it mildly, such a man would not have even 
attempted to restrain a mob of some thousands of 
** loyal and enthusiastic " — and brave — Conservatives 
from attacking a solitary man? 

On the other side, the gravity of the matter was 
well put by the Rev. Richard A. Armstrong in a letter 
to the Liverpool Mercury of the i6th March. 

THE SUPPRESSION OF FREE SPEECH. 

" To the Editor of the Liverpool Mercury 
" Gentlemen, — In the course of last year, a public 
meeting was held at Hope Hall, under the presidency 
of Sir Edward Russell, to inaugurate a Liverpool 
branch of the Aborigines Protection Society— an 
association which for more than sixty years has 
qtiietly carried on a splendid work on behalf of the 



222 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

native tribes in the many lands which British enter* 
prise has colonised A meeting of members and 
friends of this new local branch was convened for this 
afternoon to hear an address from a gentleman resi- 
dent in one of otir colonies on ' The Native Question 
in South Africa.' The meeting was not to be public, 
but by invitation only, and tea and co£Fee were to be 
served to the guests. The promoters, however, sud- 
denly received notice from the Chief Constable that 
if they continued their preparations for this private 
philanthropic meeting he should deem it his duty to 
enter a protest The reason was a fear of disturb- 
ance and riot The meeting was at once abandoned. 

" I do not know whether it is possible at the 
present moment to awaken thoughtftil men to the 
extreme gravity of the situation thus revealed. It 
would appear, from the Chief Constable's action, 
that there are persons in our midst resolved to de- 
stroy the right, not only of pubUc, but of private 
meeting, if any person present or any view expressed 
be distasteful to them. It would appear, further, 
that these persons are so powerful diat the police 
authorities either are imwilling or feel themselves 
unable to protect peaceable citizens from their vio- 
lence. In fact, the right of free speech is practically 
abrogated amongst us, and the police authorities 
are unready to maintain it 

''Amcxigst the various reasons that have been 
allied for the prosecution of the present war are 
these : (i) That liberty of public meeting had been 
denied to the Outlanders; (2) That it is our duty 
to protect the aborigines of Africa from the cruelty 
of the Boers. But in England we are denied the 
right even of private meeting; and a Society for the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 223 

Protection of the Aborigines may not hold a private 
meeting. 

** We look to the Liverpool Mercury, with its high 
tradition as a champion of freedom, for a strong 
word concerning this forfeiture of English Uberties. 

"Richard A. Armstrong. 

"Liverpool, March 15th." 

The Mercury responded to the appeal by condemn- 
ing the ** stifling of free speech," but went on to say 
"the Chief Constable has acted judiciously . . . 
there was undoubtedly danger of public disturbance 
of a serious character . . . they had fixed the 
place of assembly within a few yards of the Stock 
Exchange " (Significant spot!) 

Here is a tacit acknowledgment that England can- 
not maintain order in her own third-rate towns 
among her own citizens ! How much she has to learn 
from the reviled " Boer " ! 

Part H. 
Judge Grantham; Mr. Joseph Clayton. 

But Liverpool has, if possible, an even more unen« 
viable notoriety, though not all on its own account 
this time. It was here that Judge Grantham gained 
so widespread a notoriety. 

At the Liverpool Assizes on February 16th, Pat- 
rick Burke was tried for manslaughter before Mr. 
Justice Grantham and a jury. 

Before the case came on, Francis Birch, foreman, 
was indicted on a charge of having attempted to 
murder his former employer, William Dain, at Gor* 
ton, Manchester, on the 12 th of February ; and also 



224 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

on a minor charge of having attempted to do him 
grievous bodily harm. Birch was a one-handed man, 
having only his right He and Dain had a dispute 
about some money Dain owed him, in consequence of 
which he waited for Dain and shot at him with a 
revolver, the bullet grazing Dain's cheek. Coimsel 
for the prosecution said Dain's " injury ** was " found 
to be very slight, amounting to practically nothii^." 

The jury found Birch guilty on the minor charge, 
that is, they acquitted Birch on the charge of 
murder, but found him guilty of attempted 
grievous bodily harm. According to local police 
evidence, Birch was a respectable man with a 
wife and three children, and had never g^ven any 
trouble to the police. 

Mr. Justice Grantham sentenced Birch for 
attempted (unsuccessful) grievous bodily harm to 
seven years' penal servitude. 

The next case was that of Patrick Burke, a labour- 
er, who was indicted on a charge of manslaughter, 
for having slain Robert Delaney on the 27th of 
January. Burke and Delaney were both labourers; 
they were brothers-in-law, and lived in the same 
house. On the evening in question, when both were 
to some extent in liquor, an argument arose between 
them as to what happened at Spion Kop. Burke m 
a rage seized a poker and struck Delaney violently 
on the head, fracturing his skull over the left ear, 
in consequence of which Delaney died five or six 
days later. Burke pleaded guilty, and threw him- 
self on the mercy of the court. The two men had 
hitherto been on friendly terms, and since the blow 
Burke had done all he could to show his contrition 
\nd help Delaney to recover. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 225 

The jury found Burke guilty of manslaughter. 

Mr. Justice Grantham, in addressing Burke, made 
the following remarks, says the Liverpool Daily 
Post:— 

" Remembering that the dispute took place through 
the absorbing topic of the war, and as we have very 
satisfactory news, and considering the way you have 
behaved, I think that under all the circumstances 
justice would be met by my giving you the benefit of 
the very satisfactory news received to-day. It is a 
very fortunate thing for you that, under the circum- 
stances, and looking to your past good character, and 
remembering that this is your first offence, you may 
be discharged. Now, let this be a warning to you. 
It is the result of good character. You have lived 
all these years and been an honest man, but remem- 
ber never to give way to drink." 

The decision was received with applause. 

Burke was discharged unpunished. 

And yet a people whose Judge — whose popular 
and highly esteemed Judge — this man is, finds it pos- 
sible to denounce the Judges of the Transvaal I 

This Grantham is the same British Judge who, a 
short time before, made an outrageous attack from 
the Bench upon Dean Kitchin for a singularly beauti- 
ful sermon he had preached 

The Law Times of the 24th February re- 
marked : — " If this is right, all persons convicted on 
the day when we hear of the reUef of any beleaguered 
town ought to escape the punishment of their crime." 

And another paper remarks: — "Thus, according 
to Mr. Justice Grantham, killing is no murder if it 
occurs in a war dispute and the killer is a Jingo. It 
we desire to retain our regard for the Judicial Bench, 

p 



226 THE LAUD OF FREE SPEECH. 

Mr. Justice Grantham must be requested to claim tus 
pension" 

For the sake of contrast it is well to state what 
happened to Mr. Joseph Clayton, a man who is an 
anti- Jingo and a condemner of the war. 

Mr. Clayton is a graduate of Oxford University, a 
man devoted to the cause of peace. Intended for 
the Churcht he preferred journalism, and became sub- 
editor of the New Age, On Sunday, the loth of June, 
as usual, he spoke from a platform in Victoria Park 
on '' Patriotism," under the auspices of the Hackney 
Peace Union. He was hstened to with great atten* 
tion for about forty minutes, but during the address 
of the next speaker the crowd became rowdy. When 
the disorder became intolerable, he closed the meeting 
at the request of the park inspector. The crowd then 
grew more uproarious, and smashed up the platform. 

As he and his friends walked away from the plat- 
form the crowd surged around them. They had not 
gone ten yards before he was struck from behind and 
fell forward, saving himself from touchii^ the ground 
by putting out his hands. The police closed around 
and protected him from that point to the park gates. 
Meanwhile several attempts were made by the crowd 
to assault him. Outside the paric he and his wife 
got on top of a tramcar. The cry of "pro-Boer" 
was raised, and after the car had gone 200 yards the 
mob threw missiles at him, took the horses out of the 
car, and blocked the wheels. Three men rushed up 
on top of the car, and struck him from behind, making 
his mouth bleed, and then ran off. At the request 
of the conductor he left the car on receiving police 
protection At his request a constable took him to 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 227 

the station, where he was charged with disorderly 
conduct, but the charge was withdrawn. 

He was then kept in gaol all night on the charge 
of having assaulted a man named Jackson by striking 
him with the fist behind the ear. He was brought 
before Mr. Haden Corser, Magistrate of the North 
London PoUce Court, no less than six times, on each 
occasion being remanded and let out on bail; and 
finally, the acme of absurdity was reached, consider- 
ing the evidence that had been led, when Mr. Corser 
sent the case up to be tried at the next Clerkenwell 
Sessions, where, of cotirse, Mr. Cla)rton was found 
not guilty and discharged. It cost him about ;f 60, 
whidi the anti-war pubUc subscribed in small sums. 

This is another example of British justice. Not 
one of the platform smashers, not one of those who 
assaulted Mr. Cla3^on, not one of those that stopped 
and took out the horses is arrested Mr. Cla3^on is 
seized because a '' pro-Boer," and made to suffer im- 
prisonment, inconvenience, loss, and insult, while the 
real offenders go free. 

The Hackney Peace Union had to give up its 
meetings, as is explained by the following letter, ad- 
dressed by Mr. J. Branch, J.P., L.C.C., its President, 
to the Press : — 

" The members of the Hackney Peace Union have 
requested me, as its president, to ask )rou to give pub- 
licity to the fact that they have decided not to con- 
tinue, for the present, the holding of their meetings 
in Victoria Park on Sunday mornings, in advocacy 
of their views in relation to a just settlement of the 
South African question, and to protest against the 
growing spirit of militarism. This decision has been 
arrived at in consequence of the serious disorderly 

P2 



228 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

proceedings that have followed our previous meetings. 
A large gang of rowdies, backed by an indifferent or 
hostile "patriotic" crowd, have assaulted and mal* 
treated our friends and supporters, in some cases vexy 
seriously. At our last meeting one of them had h^ 
head badly cut with a part of the platform, which had 
been broken to pieces by them. At the close of the 
meeting, Miss Hobhouse, one of our speakers* a lady 
well known in connection with this movement, was 
hustled, and had to be protected by the park con- 
stables. Mr. Joseph Clayton (sub-editor of the New 
Age\ who spoke on the loth instant, and who was 
listened to very attentively by an interested audience, 
was, after leaving the meeting, struck on the head 
and back repeatedly by the rowdies, and upon mount- 
ing a tramcar outside the park, the car was followed 
by men who several times struck him violently on 
the face and head — there being no Metropolitan con- 
stables for his protection. In pursuance of our resolu- 
tion,, no meeting was held last Sunday (the 17th 
instant), but the Superintendent of Victoria Park in- 
forms me that a gentleman was in conversation with 
a friend about the railway collision at Slough, when a 
cry of * Pro-Boer I ' was raised, and some 2,000 people, 
apparently waiting in expectation of our meeting, 
proceeded to hustle him, and he had to be protected 
by the park constables, and finally an inspector of 
police had to take him to his own house to save him 
from further violence. Mr. Will Crooks, a well-known 
member of the London County Council, was also 
assaulted and followed by a howling mob ; the con- 
ductor of the car on whidi he had mounted to return 
home was struck, and the windows smashed, and the 
car obstructed from proceeding for a considerable 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 229 

time. Surely we may look to the ftee Press of 
England to protect the freedom of the people. We 
should also be able to rely on the members of erery 
social and religious school of thought, especially 
members of the Temperance party, prc^pressive politic 
cal societies, Methodists, or members of the Salvation 
Army, each and all of whom have had to pass through 
the ordeal of violence to secure their right of a peace- 
ful propaganda It is a question vital to the interests 
of ^e nation whether we are to sacrifice this right of 
free men to free speech in obedience to the lowest in- 
stincts of the lowest section of society.^' 

This is only one of many instances of the ** free- 
dom ** and ** fair play " in " Merrie England." 



CHAPTER XVL 

CROYDON, THE 19TH OF MARCH. 

The anti-war movement in Croydon was begmi by 
the Rev. J. Page Hopps and Captain Alfred Carpen- 
ter, R.N., calling together some known local sym- 
pathisers to form a committee to get up a meeting 
in favour of the independence of the Republics. A 
branch of the South African Conciliation Committee 
was formed At its first meeting it was proposed to 
ask me and others to speak, and Monday, 19th ot 
March, was fixed upon as the date for the meetix^, 
admission to be by ticket only. These arrangements 
were made before I started on my tour. The riots at 
Edinburgh, Scarborough and other places, had greatly 
excited England; and the Croydon papers, like tl^ 
Imperialist papers elsewhere, b^^ to predict trouble 
if I should come, and by way of causing a fulfilment 
of their predictions, to incite and whip up passionate 
feelix^, which, in the then state of the nation, could 
have only one result For instance, as early as the 
8th of March, a letter headed " They are arcing for 
it," appeared in the Croydon Advertiser^ in which " A 
Yorkshireman " wrote: "Mr. Schreiner^s Edinburgh 
experience was not very pleasant Subsequent ap- 
pearances may be equally lively." The same paper 
on the loth said, "The Boers meant to drive the 
English into the sea," and that it was not for " liberty 
of speech " when its expression ** so strongly savoured 
of sedition." The Croydon Guardian of the loth, 
referring to me as the " Cape Colonial ultra-pro-Boer," 

( 330 ) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 231 

said : '' We have at all events the right to take some 
steps to let the world know that the opinions of such 
people are not ours." The Croydon Tinus of the 1 3th 
warned the '' {Mredous anti-English League " that they 
would " meet with a very warm reception." On t& 
17th it stated that the resolutions would be passed 
** in the name of a public that is excluded," and, warn- 
ing " gentlemen of the Boer persuasion " not to hold 
the meeting, said if a disturbance occurred they were 
not to blame anybody but themselves. While the 
Croydon Advertiser on the 17th warned me not to 
come to Croydon ; " big sums," it said, were ** being 
offered for the * tickets ' which are being given out to 
attend this public meeting." 

These extracts, significant enough, were but a faint 
echo of the threats freely made in Croydon. As early 
as the 14th, Captain Carpenter wrote to the Guar- 
dian that "in consequence of the warnings of pro- 
bable violence and riot that have appeared in the 
local papers the private meeting arranged to hear Mr. 
Schreiner at the Public Hall on the 19th has been can- 
celled" But this was thought to be a '"blind"— a 
'' slim " Boer move. So high did feeling run that on 
the Saturday (the 17th) Captain Carpenter had 
another letter in the Guardian, in which he said that 
as the Committee had no wish to turn Croydon into a 
bear garden, it had decided to cancel the meetmg. 
Still, this was not believed ; so on Monday, the igth, 
the Captain called on the editor and showed him my 
letter, written after my return from Scarborough, in 
which I myself said the meeting must be abandoned. 

The meeting having been definitely abandoned, 
those who condemned the war decided to resolve 
themselves on the same evening into as many small 



232 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

gatherings at private houses as they could hastily 
arrange for, with the object of passing at each house 
a resolution expressing their views. This was done, 
and the resolution duly made pubUc, no pretence what- 
ever, of course, being made that it represented Croy- 
don or any but those persons actually met together in 
private. One of these gatherings was to be at 17, 
Oakfield Road,* and Miss Grove, to make it known, 
wrote on slips of paper the date and the hour, mark- 
ing them " Confidential** As these slips were given 
away somewhat freely, and probably became known 
to non-sympathisers, this may have been the cause of 
placards issued by the Croydon Guardian on Sunday, 
the 18th, stating that I was coming after all On the 
Saturday Miss Grove had sent a note by her maid to 
a neighbour who wished to hear me, saying I should 
not be present, but that a meeting would be held at 
17, Oakfield Road, and inviting her to come. This 
letter was lost, and fell into the hands of someone, 
who wrote the following notice in blue pencil on a 
sheet of cardboard, whidi he posted up on the notice 
board of the Guardian ofiicet on Monday evening : — 

" Pro-Boer Meeting now being Held at 

17, Oakfield Road." 

This was the cause of such disturbance as was in 
any way focussed at any particular spot Gangs of 
patriots had been despatched to watch Croydon and 
South Croydon Stations on the chance that I might 
arrive and to attack me if I should arrive ; and a gene- 

* The residence of Lady Grove, President of the Croydon 
Women's Liberal Association, which was strongly in sym- 
pathy with the anti-war movement. 

t After hours, and presumably without the Editor's know- 
ledge. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 233 

ral sense of uneasiness pervaded the towa But the 
police kept the people moving on, which was not so 
difficult, as they had no definite objective. Then some 
one saw the notice on the Guardian board, vrith the 
result that soon a crowd had gathered in Oakfield 
Road This was quite early in the evening. It for- 
tunately happened that two friends of the Groves saw 
the notice and tore it down; or, as Miss Grove re- 
marks, they ** would have had half the town there 
before night" With wise foresight, Miss Grove, not 
wishing her mother to be frightened, had taken the 
precaution of visiting the Superintendent of Police 
in the morning. Consequently the mob no sooner 
began to assemble in Oakfield Road than the Super- 
intendent (Inspector Chinn) appeared on the scene 
with a dozen men, and succeeded, by prompt and 
vigorous measures, in dispersing it before it had at- 
tained serious proportions, or had committed any 
damage beyond somewhat alarming the neighbour- 
hood and shocking people's ears with its yells and 
its rendering of " patriotic " airs. ** There is no doubt," 
says the Croydon Advertiser, ''that the active and 
prompt intervention of the police nipped what pro- 
mised to be a rowdy demonstration in the bud." 



CHAPTER XVII. 

15, BRUTON STREET, BERKELEY SQUARE, 
THE 2 1 ST OF MARCH ; AND ELSEWHERE. 

The next meeting was a successful one. It was 
a Women's meeting; held at Lord and Lady Hob* 
house's 15, Bruton Street, Berkeley Square, at 3 p.nL 
on Wednesday, the aist of March. 

Mrs. F. Mackamess, acting on behalf of the women 
with whom she was associated, had asked me to 
speak. The meeting was a success in every way. 
The rooms were crowded to their utmost capacity. 
.Mrs. James Bryce, who was in the chair, in an ex- 
cellent opening address deprecated the remarks of 
Mr. Balfotu: in palliating the recent outrages against 
freedom of speech ; appeals for free open discussions, 
she said, had resulted in scenes of which every fair- 
minded, justice-loving, law-abiding Englishman 
should be ashamed, and the reception given to a 
stranger — a loyal British subject with inherited rights 
to be heard — was such as to make them hide their 
heads in shame. 

I had a very enthusiastic reception, and amused 
them somewhat by addressing them as ** fellow Out- 
landers." There were congratulations on the absence 
of a window-breaking mob — a contingency which 
many had expected It was strange to speak in peace 
after such uproars as had signalised my recent public 
and private appearances. 

The Dai/y Chronicle had somehow got a woman 
reporter in, as was discovered next day when that 

( ^34 ) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 235 

paper appeared with an account of the meeting. I 
give the concluding words of its report : — 

^Mr. Cronwright Schreiner said: ... At this 
stage it was only possible to consider terms of con- 
dUation. Internal independence and the ' equal rights ' 
—to obtain which the nation had ostensibly gone to 
war — ^must be granted Only so could the outraged 
feelings of South Africa be allayed and Finland be 
justified in the eyes of the world Then he would 
suggest that they be allowed to retain their flags; 
and that when federated from within a composite 
flag be permitted A people who had shown such a 
desperate and ideal love of country deserved manly 
consideration from a powerful nation like England 
He deplored the Imperial poUcy which would govern 
a distant country, with q)ecial difficulties, from White- 
hall ; and trusted the Colony might govern itself 
without the intrusion of such men as Sir Alfred 
Miker.'' 

Commenting on my speech^ the Chronicle re- 
marked : — 

" If Mr. Cronwright Schreiner delivered at Bruton 
Street the speech that he intended to deliver at Scar- 
borough and elsewhere, it is a pity that he was not 
allowed to give it sooner ; for it is a most moderate, 
reasonable, and, withal, informing statement of the 
side of the case which is hidden from our gaze ; but 
perha^ Mr. Schreiner has learnt wisdom from his 
recent experiences. When he tells us, for instance, 
that 200 peace meetings* were held in the rural dis- 

* These two handred peace meetings were held in the 
Cape Colony hy the Dutch British subjects of the Colony, 
ana were held, I believe, in every case, under the auspices 
of the Afrikander Bond. 



336 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

tricts of South Africa without a dissentient, he brings 
prominently to our notice what has hitherto been only 
dimly realised in this country — ^that the war is a civil 
war in South Africa, that our Colonial volunteers axe 
fighting against fathers, brothers, cousins, amongst the 
btirghers, and that families are thus split down the 
centre. His terms also of final conciliation are emi- 
nently reasonable; no Liberal can cavil at allowing 
the South African States internal independence and 
a composite flag, though it may— indeed, in all pro- 
bability it will — be necessary for some time to come 
to administer the two Boer States under new names 
as Crown colonies." 

Successful as the meeting was, grateful as all were 
to the aged Lord and Lady Hobhouse for running 
the serious risks they had run in their determination 
that I should get a hearing, deeply touched as I was 
by the staunch bearing of the women, and elated as 
they naturally were at having succeeded where men 
had failed, this meeting was more important in the 
results which flowed from it later than even the ex- 
cellent effect it had at the time. 

At the close of the meeting, all those who wished 
to do so were invited to enrol themselves as the 
nucleus of a committee to carry on the work so well 
b^^ that afternoon, and hand in their names to Miss 
Emily Hobhouse. About forty enrolled themselves, 
and a movement was started which before long did 
the most excellent work. Few women have worked so 
hard and done so well in this matter as Miss Emily 
Hobhouse. All felt and all still feel that Lord and 
Lady Hobhouse, staunchest of true Liberals, did the 
cause of honour and peace a most valuable service ; 
for it was at this meeting at their house in Bruton 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 337 

Street that the Women's organised movement against 
the war began. 

We shall meet other Hobhouses doing equally good 
work at Manchester later. 

On the evening of the 22nd of March there was a 
conference at the Westminster Palace Hotel to con- 
sider what should be done to secure " Free Speech," 
as it was dear there was no use in looking to the 
Government, of, in consequence, to the local authori- 
ties. Mr. Courtney was in the chair, and there were, 
among others, delegates from a large number of 
Labour societies. I intimated my readiness to take 
the field again, on the understanding that at any place 
where I was to speak the meeting should be well or- 
ganised and carried through. It was decided to or- 
ganise throughout the country. The meeting was very 
indignant at the mob terrorism allowed by the Gov- 
ernment 

On the 3rd of April Mr. John E. Ellis, M.P., gave 
a breakfast to me at the Westminster Palace Hotel. 
About forty guests were present, among them being 
the Right Honourable Leonard Courtney, M.P., the 
Right Hon. James Stanhope, M.P., the Right Hon. 
James Bryce, M.P., Mr. C. P. Scott, M.P. (Editor and 
proprietor of the Manchester Guardian), Mr. Thomas 
Burt, M.P., Mr. Joshua Rowntree, of Scarborough, 
and others. Among the ladies present were Mrs. Ellis» 
Mrs. Courtney, Mrs. Bryce, Miss Ellis, and others. 
Messrs. Courtney, Stanhope, Bryce, Ellis, and Rown- 
tree spoke. Of course after it transpired that the 
breakfast had been given to me, the usual things 
occurred The hotel people are said to have remarked 



238 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

indignantly that had they known this they would not 
have allowed the bresikfast, and the Imperialists 
angrily said that if they had known it they would have 
mobbed the hotel, and prevented it 

Next evenii^, Wednesday, the 4th Aprils I was 
banqueted at the Caf6 Monico, Piccadilly Circus. 
The banquet, which was under the auspices of the 
New Reform Club, was to have been held at the 
Holbom Restaurant All arrangements had been 
made, when, presumably on account of pressure being 
brought to bear, perhaps by threats of mobbing and 
wrecking the Restaurant, the directors refused to 
allow the banquet to be held there as I was the guest, 
and cancelled the arrangement 

Among the protests this called forth, I take the 
following from the Star (the evening colleague of the 
Morning Leader) : — 

"FREE AND TOLERANT ?*' 

'''At the su^rgestion of some of the shareholders of the 
Holbom Restaurant Company the banquet proposed to be 
given in the King's Hall to Mr. Cronwright Schreiner by 
the New Reform Club has been cancelled.— Central News.' 

"This is the latest triumph of that Imperialism 
which glories in our ' free, tolerant, and unaggressive 
Empire.' Where is the freedom? Where is the 
tolerance ? The malignant persecution to which Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner has been subjected since he 
came to England is one of the saddest symptoms of 
the evil influence of the financial Imperialism which, 
by buj^g up the South African Press, and thus 
poisoning the springs of information, has completely 
misled home opinioa We suppose the shareholders 
of the Holbom Restaurant are Englishmea If so. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 239 

may we ask them whether they believe in the old 
English doctrine of fair play? Mr. Schreiner is one 
of the Outlanders for whom we are fighting. So far 
from beix^ a ' Boer ' or a * Dutchman,' he has been 
better known than any man in South Africa as an 
opponent of the Bond, and, so far from being a 
Krugerite, he holds strongly that the policy of ex- 
clusion pursued by Kruger was both foolish and un- 
safe. So stupidly venomous is the vendetta against 
Mr. Schreiner that the Times to-day actually taunts 
him with his loyalty. It says : — 

' In the Cape Town newspapers it is ahown what value is 
to be attached to the testimonv in regard to South African 
politics of Mr. Cronwright Schreiner, who is paraded here 
by the " Stop the War " party as an Afrikander patriot, but 
who, a few years ago, appears to have denouncea the Bond 
for disloyalty to the Imperial Government.' * 

" Against such ignorant hate the gods would fight 
in vain. The duty of Liberals, at any rate, is clear. 
They must fight this sort of Imperialism to Uie death. 
They must re-conquer the right of free speech in 
England" 

There were about 1 50 guests present, among them 
being Mr. Passmore Edwards, so well known for his 
munificent gifts towards free libraries and convales- 
cent homes. I take the following few lines from the 
accotmt g^ven by the Morning Leader — ^that coura- 
geous paper which took the place of the Daily 
Chronicle as the foremost of true Liberal dailies in 
London: — 

"FREE SPEECH. 

« COMPLIMENTARY DINNER TO MR. CRONWRIGHT 

SCHREINER. 

''A complimentary dinner was given last night to 

* This statement is false. 



240 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

Mr. Cronwright Schieiner at the Caf6 Monico. The 
dinner was given under the auspices of the New 
Reform Club. Sir Wilfrid Lawson, M.P., presided 

" It will be remembered that the dinner was origin- 
ally fixed to take place at the Holbom Restaurant, 
but the proprietors refused to let the restaurant owing 
to the risk of a disturbance. 

" A number of letters of apology for absence were 
read from Sir William Harcourt, Sir Edward Clarke, 
Mr. Laboucheie, M.P., Mr. Dillon, M.P., Lady Car- 
lisle, Lord Coleridge, the Rev. Stephen Gladstone, 
the Rev. F. B. Meyer, Mr. H. J. Wilson. M.P., Dr. 
Spence Watson, Mr. Lloyd George, M.P., Mr. 
Leonard Courtney, M.P., and others. 

"Sir Wilfrid Lawson said they were met mainly 
to show their adherence to the right of free speech 
and public meeting in this country. The degraded 
public opinion of the present day showed a mischiev- 
ous and cowardly spirit, and they had an object lesson 
of what that spirit produced in the person of Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner. 

" Sir Wilfrid Lawson alluded in feeling terms to 
the unfortunate incident of the shooting at the Prince 
of Wales. 

"They used to consider that England was the 
home of the oppressed, but Mr. Schreiner, who came 
here simply to tell us what he believed to be the 
truth, had been reviled, misrepresented, abused, 
hustled, and kicked. 

" A TRIBUTE TO PLUCBL 

" Because they appreciated his pluck and persever- 
ance they had asked him to dine with them. It was 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 241 

time that Englishmen should prove their hatred of 
mob law and their love of free speech. 

"Mr. firyce had assured Mr. Schreiner that the 
treatment he received did not represent the British 
people. He (Sir Wilfrid) was doubtful about it, be- 
cause, so far as he could make out, the Press, the 
platform, the pulpit, and Parliament were in one great 
conspiracy to exalt brute force." 

I spoke on the native question, contrasting the 
treatment of the natives, by individuals and legisla- 
tively, in the Cape Colony, Rhodesia, and the Trans- 
vaal I pointed out that the Rhodes treatment of 
the natives had been to alienate the natives of the 
Colony from the British section of the people and 
throw them on to the side of the Bond, who were now 
making common cause with them against "Imperi- 
alism/' qua capitalism ; that the same people who had 
alienated the natives from the British were now 
alienating the Dutch ; that just as the Matabele War 
had been forced upon the natives for the sake of 
taking their country from them, so had war been 
forced upon the Republics to take their country from 
them ; and that the Dutch of the Cape Colony were 
being goaded into rebellion in order that the capital- 
ists and Mr. Rhodes might get command of the Cape 
Legislature, as they hoped to get command of the 
Republics, and dominate the whole of South Africa. 

Sir Wilfrid Lawson was in excellent form. He 
convulsed those present with several stories» two of 
which I remember, and he told them in his most in- 
imitable way. Two clergymen were discussing the 
war in a raOway carriage^ one a Jingo and the other 
not The Jingo deigyman could not get the other to 
state his opinions, so, after endeavouring for some 





242 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

time to draw hiiB» he said: "Well, what are your 
opinions on the war?" "Well," replied the peace 
man, '' I am trying to think what Jesus would have 
thotight about it" "Oh, then, you're a pro-Boer 1 " 
hotly rejoined the Jingo. The other story was about 
a " discussion " ( !) on the war, in a 'bus. " Kroojer 
ought to be hanged " said an irate Scotsman. *' Per- 
hsqps Mr. Kroojer might have a word to say about 
that," interjected a quiet man in the comer. " Con- 
ductor!" roared the Scotsman, "Put this mon oot: 
this is no' a debating society 1" Mrs. Byles made an 
excellent little speech, quoting Milton, and contrast- 
ing him with Kipling with great effect, much to the 
delight of those present Sir Wilfrid Lawson in 
replying to the toast of his health, which I proposed 
— ^what a fine record he has in public Uf e ! — ^wound up 
his eloquent speech amid a hurricane of applause by 
remarking that he was glad to see those present " pre- 
ferred truth to falsehood, honesty to dishonesty, the 
Morning Leader to the Daily MaiL and — Milton to 
Rudyard Kipling ! " It was well said. 

Two Uttle incidents in connection with this event 
are worth relating. 

As two of the company, Mr. and Mrs. Ashton Jon- 
son, called up a cab to drive away from the Caf6 
Monico, one of the porters was heard to remark: 
"Kroojer's Secret Service Money's runnin' to cabs, 
eh?" 

Then, having supplied the banquet, and secured a 
big advertisement, tiie Caf6 Monico people wrote to 
the Times regretting that the banquet had been held 
there, and stating that if they had known it was for 
Mr. Cronwright Schreiner they would not have al- 
lowed it to be held in their caf6! These people are 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 243 



foreigners — Italians^ I think. This conduct recalls 
that of the people of the Bahnoral Hotel at Edin* 
burgk When asked, after the riot, if I were tber^ the 
answer was " they were loyal : they did not take in 
such people." The name of the perfervid patriot — I 
mean Imperialist — is G. A. IMFERIALI, also an Italidx]* 
I presume. Well did Mr. J. L. Hammond remark 
about this time: ''These are the days when Libe- 
ralism speaks in broken accents, and Patriotism in 
broken English!" 

On the afternoon of the 5th of April a large meet- 
ing of delegates from the various South African Con- 
ciliation Committees all over England was held in 
the Westminster Palace HoteL About 300 to 400 
were present Mr. F. Mackamess, Chairman of the 
London Committee, presided The gathering was a 
very representative and influential one. For a de- 
scription of what occurred, I quote from my letter 
written to my wife in South Africa next day : — 

"Mr. Courtney made one of his prophet-like 
speeches, full of moral fervour, and in a most im- 
pressive manner. He is a great maa I was sitting 
quietly unrecognised at the back of the big room, 
listening to people refer to me in very complimentary 
terms, when the Rev. G. Watt Smith, of Leeds, at the 
other end of the room, in the course of his speech 
said he was glad to see I was present At once a 
tremendous commotion ensued. He could not go on. 
The whole hall arose with a shout and looked for me. 
It was funny : so few of them knew me. My next 
door neighbour even looked past me to find me. A 
few in my immediate neighbourhood spotted me, but 
I remained incog. Mr. Watt Smith finished his 

02 



244 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

speech, and then there were more shouts. But I sat 
stilL When order was restored the Chairman said I 
should be asked to speak soon. When the time came 
they shouted again, and when I stood up it was won- 
derful to see the enthusiasm. Old, grey-bearded men 
rose and waved handkerchiefs, and the people sprang 
to their feet and cheered. I said a few words. Isn't 
this kind of cult extraordinary? I have become, in 
Great Britain^ the central object of attack for tKe 
financial and Jingo influences, whether through the 
Press or by the mob. The way they He about me 
and insult me is a revelation. In consequence, I have 
to a large extent become the hero of the other side. 
It is not only yesterday that such scenes occur, though 
it was one of the most pronounced and spontaneous. 
It occurs all along the line On the one hand, un- 
deserved vilification and cold-blooded misrepresenta- 
tion; on the other, praise and devotion (also un* 
deserved) to an extraordinary degree. Organised 
labour throughout the country is sound, and this will 
in time bring unorganised labour round ; of that there 
can be no doubt Their sound and virile grasp of the 
underlying economic causes of the war has led them 
right On the other hand, so many women, God 
bless them! are led to take the right side by their 
sympathy with suffering." 

Meantime I spoke at several small meetings and 
met many people. The meetings were : — 

I. On the 5th of April at 30, RusseU Square, the 
residence of Mr. Thompson, the Editor of 
Reynolds's, This was a meeting of del^[ates 
from the Women's Radical and Liberal Asso- 
ciations of the Metropolitan Countiea There being. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 245 

as usual when I was concerned, some difficulty in ob- 
taining a hall, Mrs. Thompson pluckily lent her house. 
A resolution was carried unanimously and enthusias- 
tically against annexation. 

2. On the 6th April, at Dr. Bridges', 2, Park Place 
Gardens. The Doctor is, of course, the brilliant 
Positivist The audience were mostly working people. 
The better class working people have, it seems to me, 
taken the place as the moral strength of the nation, 
once held by the middle class and the Nonconformist 

3. An afternoon meeting at Mrs. J. E. Ellis's, 40, 
Port Street, S.W., Mrs. Ashton Jonson in the chair. 
This was largely a woman's meetii^. Mrs. J. E. 
Ellis, who is a sister of Mr. Joshua Rowntree, ably 
supports her husband by her enlightened attitude to • 
wards social questions Mrs. Ashton Jonson is the 
founder and moving spirit of the Sesame Club, ably 
supported by Lady Isabel Margesson. She is a 
woman of great activity in many &elds of advanced 
social labour. 

I may here mention one or two matters worth 
placing on record An influential man whose word is 
perfectly reliable told me that, apropos of Mr. 
Rhodes's late (1900) visit to England (when he was 
cold-shouldered and kept so quiet), he had seen a 
letter from a prominent member of the South African 
League in the Cape Colony, saying that at all costs 
Mr. Rhodes must be kept quiet, or everyone would 
say that the war was a capitalists' war. 

Dining with Sir Charles Dilke one evening, he told 
me Bismarck had said to him that Mr. Kruger was the 
greatest statesman of the century: greater than 
Cavour, greater than Mazzini, greater than himself. 



246 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

^ I had the Prussian army behind me,** said Bismarck. 
" But Kruger has had to do all he has done without 
any army behind hint** 

An intimate lady friend of Sir Alfred Milner said, 
as soon as he was appointed Governor and High 
Commissioner, he would not do : " He was too micro- 
scqpic" 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

THE NATIVE QUESTION. 

Part I. 
Dean's Yard, the 3RD of April. 

After some considerable trouble as to arrange- 
ment of date, it was finally decided between Mr. 
Francis William Fox and myself that I should meet 
the Native Races Protection Society Committee, of 
which he was a member, at 15, Dean's Yard* West- 
minster, on the afternoon of the 3rd of Aprl. Oh 
arriving there, I was somewhat surprised to find that 
Mr. Bourchier F. Hawksley was a member of the 
Committee ; Mr. Hawksley being, as is well known, 
the attorney of the Chartered Company, whose treat- 
ment of the natives in Rhodesia is notorious. My 
views soon became unpalatable to Mr. Hawksley, who 
began to put subtle questions to me. I turned to him 
and said if he wished for dialectics I should be 
pleased to meet him, as I myself had a fondness for 
intellectual fencing as an exercise, but that to-day we 
had not assembled for such a purpose^ but to get at 
my candid opinions, so if he wanted straight answers 
he'd get them to straight questions. This created a 
little diversion, but soon Mr. Hawksley took occasion 
to champion Mr. Rhodes's attitude towards the 
natives, and quoted what Mr. Rhodes had said I 
told him I did not wish to hear Mr. Rhodes's sophis- 
tries on the native question. ** Oh,** he said, •* if you 
won't take what he says—" "No I** I rejoined, "I 
judge him by his acts : I know what he has done to 

( 247 ) 



248 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

the natives. The difference between Mr. Rhodes and 
myself is that Mr. Rhodes puts the mines before the 
natives, whereas I put the natives before the mines." 
Whereat Mr. Hawksley left the room, and, freed from 
his presence, the interview went on more as it should 
have done. A member of the Committee told me 
afterwards that when the Committee was interview- 
ing another South African, Mr. Hawksley cross- 
examined him in the most drastic fashion. 

Part IL 

South Place Ethical Society, 
THE isTH OF April. 

The South Place Ethical Society holds its ser- 
vices every Sunday in the South Place Chapel and 
Institute, Finsbury, E.C. It is a very delightful ser- 
vice. Here one gets away from the narrow dogmatism 
of the State Church. The congregation has no regular 
preacher; the Committee ask anyone they desire to 
deliver an address upon Sunday morning, it being 
understood that the address shall have an ethical 
bearing. Among other well-known and advanced 
men who frequently lecture there are Messrs. J. A. 
Hobson, J. M. Robertson, and Herbert Burrows. He 
who delivers the lecture conducts the service, which, 
in addition to the lecture, consists of two anthems 
and two hymns, and two readings of about 5 to 10 
minutes each in some manner illustrative of the theme 
of the lecture. The whole service is of a deeply 
religious character, and the singing, if I am to judge 
by the rendering of the anthem the day I attended, 
of great beauty. 

Before I started on my northern tour, Mr. William 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 249 

RawlingSi the Secretary of the Society, had asked me 
to deliver the lecture on Sunday, the 15th of April 
I had consented, and selected " The Native Question 
in South Africa " as my theme. But before this day 
arrived, mob rule had set in, and I had become the 
principal storm-centre in Great Britain. There was a 
risk which the Society and its friends fully recog- 
nised of the Institute being wrecked if they persisted 
in their determination to have me. They had adver- 
tised my name in the usual ways — ^in certain papers 
and by poster at the Institute. If this meeting were 
carried through without serious disturbance it would 
be my first successful semi-public appearance. It was 
a bold thing to persist in carrying it through, but the 
Ethical Society, being fearless, decided to go on with 
it, although I had asked Mr. Hobson to intimate to 
them that if they wished under the peculiar circum- 
stances to cancel the engagement they were not to 
consult me. They, however, seeing a great moral 
principle was at stake, stood to their guns like men. 

On Sunday morning, about a quarter to eleven 
o'clock, I got out at Moorgate Street Station, and in- 
quired my way to the Institute from a policeman. 
As I did so, I saw a large number of working men 
trooping down in the direction the policeman indi- 
cated. One naturally inferred that this was preliminary 
to a riot When I got to the Institute these men had 
disappeared. Soon after entering the porch, and in- 
troducing myself, Mr. Joseph Clayton came up to me 
and said a hundred " Free Speech " men had come 
with him to see me through. They were the 
working men I had seen. They were now all 
seated within the Institute. I was taJcen round to the 
back, where, in conversation with Mr. Rawlings, I 



250 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

waited for the hour of the service to begin. Others 
came in, among them Mr. John M. Robertson and Ins 
wife, a bright, plucky little American woman, who 
carried a large lunbrella with a most formidable 
handle in case of emergencies! Mr. Rawlings, who 
had gone into the Chapel to see how things were pro- 
gressing, came in looldng somewhat serious ; the hall 
was becoming crowded in every part, he said, and, 
judging from the appearance of a large number 
present, some of whom were rough-looking cus- 
tomers, he feared we might have trouble. But when 
I told him that the *' rough-looking customers " were 
almost certainly the hundred staunch working men 
who had come to vindicate the right of free speech, 
everything took quite a different complexion. Just 
before eleven o'clock some others came in and said 
the building was packed in every part 

As I was tmacquainted with the usual procedure, it 
was arranged that Mr. Rawlings should conduct the 
service, that I should give only the readings and the 
lecture, and that Mr. Robertson was to accompany 
me on to the platform. 

It soon became pretty dear that the assembly was 
with us, for the moment we entered the whole hall 
broke into clapping and some cheering. This was 
quickly suppressed by the Secretary, who reminded 
the audience, which packed the building from gallery 
to platform, that the service was a religious one, and 
should be conducted in silence; he therefore asked 
them not to signify approval or disapproval of any- 
thing said, but to listen in silence. 
V It was a fine gathering, the people being so in- 
tensely earnest My first reading was a letter written 
by a Kaffir, a risumi of which subsequently appeared 



. ROllKKTSOV 






b\-< J^ 







\ 1. '•" 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 251 

over my signature in the Morning Leader. My 
second was from that beautifol essay of Emerson on 
"Self-Reliance," in which occur the following pas- 
sages: — 

^ Speak your latent conviction, and it shall be the 
universal sense ; for the inmost in due time becomes 
the outmost, and our first thought is rendered back 
to us by the trumpets of the Last Judgment." 

" Abide by your own spontaneous impression with 
good-humoured inflexibility, then most when the 
whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to- 
morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense 
precisely what we have thought and felt all along, and 
we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion 
from another." 

** Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron 
string." 

** Society everywhere is in a conspiracy against the 
manhood of its members. Society is a joint stock 
company in which the members agree — for the better 
securing of his bread to each shareholder — to sur- 
render the liberty and culture of the eater. The virtue 
in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its 
aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names 
and customs. 

" Whoso would be a man must be a non-conformist 
.... Nothing at last is sacred but the integrity of 
your own mind." 

Notwithstanding the admonition of the Secretary^ 
and the nature of the service, the audience frequently 
broke out into clapping and other manifestations of 
approval during my lecture ; and when I ended, the 
whole hall burst out into loud applause. 

A crowd waited outside around the front door — ^no 



252 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

doubt a highly sympathetic crowd ; but not wishing 
any demonstration I went out by a door about twenty 
yards further up the street, unobserved. 

Thus ended a meeting which reflects the very 
highest credit on the South Place Ethical Society. 
Personally, I shall always have a deep feeling of 
gratitude and admiration for the Society. 



• t 



I. 



r. - 

« ■ 






; DODD, U.R.C.S. 



CHAPTER XIX. 

TUKBRIDGE WELLS, THE 20TH OF APRIL AND 
THE 5TH AND 6TH OF JUNE. 

On the 20th of April, Mr. J. A Hobson and myself, 
at the invitation of Councillor F. Lawson Dodd, 
M.R.C.S., went down to Tunbric^ Wells to start a 
branch of the South African Conciliation Committee. 
The meeting was held at Mr. Dodd's house, Grosvenor 
Lodge. About sixty were present, among them 
Captain McFall, the stepson of '' Sarah Grand,'' who 
brought me a message from the author of '^The 
Heavenly Twins," saying how sorry she was not to 
be able to be present Mr. Hobson and I spoke, and 
a branch was duly formed, Mr. Dodd being elected 
Hon. Sec. fro tern. His appointment was subse- 
quently made permanent, Mr. Edward Shillito being 
elected President. The Committee formulated its 
aims as follows : — 

^ (a) To watch South African affairs with a view to 
issuing accurate intelligence and taking such steps 
as may be necessary for enabling the public to form 
a just estimate of the political questions affecting 
the Colonies and the States of Soutih Africa. 

** (b) To advocate the paramount importance of a 
policy the object of which shall be to re-establish 
goodwill between the British and Dutch races in 
South Africa by a full recognition of the just claims 
of both, and to urge a peaceful settlement upon these 
principles of the deplorable conflict between this coun^ 

( «53 ) 



354 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

try and the two Republics at the earliest momenl 
when such a settlement is practicable." 

As feeling was then so high, our visit had not been 
made public, but on the 27th the Advertiser published 
an account of the meeting supplied to it by Mr. Dodd 
This paper, in the same issue, had a leaderette, in 
which it referred to the visit of "Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner, the pro-Boer agitator"; it hinted that if 
a visit from me were known it would be " a little too 
patriotic and sincere and in cordiality eclipse previous 
demonstrations" (f.^., Edinburgh, Dundee, Scar- 
borough, etc), and concluded by sa3dng I should '' do 
well to give Tunbridge Wells a wide berth." 

To this article Mr. Dodd attributes very largely 
the subsequent disgraceful proceedings, which sur- 
passed anything of the kind known in Tunbridge 
Wells since the sixties, when the Riot Act 
was read on the Pantiles on the occasion of 
the Webber Riots. It is a matter for note 
that Mr. Webber was an ardent sanitary Re- 
former, and that Mr. Dodd is an ardent humanitarian 
and a devoted worker among the people, the cham- 
pion of the workers of the East Ward. ' Enemies of 
the People " in the sense in which the hero of Ibsen's 
great play was one. 

After Uie meeting Mr. Dodd's house was made the 
mark of all lands of insult, which culminated on the 
occasion of the British occupation of Pretoria. The 
news of this incident reached the town on the after- 
noon of Tuesday, the 5th June. During the evening 
a number of roughs, mostly young and well orga- 
nised, armed with pail, bru^ and newsposters, were 
seen making in the direction of Grosvenor Mount, and 
were followed by a considerable crowd. They went 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 255 

straight to Mr. Dodd's house, entered the gate and 
pasted the war posters of a London evening journal on 
the front door and side wall of the house. It seems 
pretty dear that this was no spontaneous movement 
on the part of these roughs. They then gathered 
outside, singing '^ Soldiers of the Queen," hooting and 
shouting insults, such as "Come out, you coward," 
" Down with all the pro-Boers," etc This was about 
ten o'clock ; an hour later a large crowd had collected 
Chief Constable Prior, who seems to have acted well, 
and by his tact and determination to have averted 
what might have been a very serious riot throughout 
the town, saw danger, and soon had about forty 
constables on the scene; but they vainly endea- 
voured to disperse the frenzied Imperialists. When 
the electric arc lamps were turned out and darkness 
supervened, the crowd, which contained a large 
number of drunken roughs and drunken young 
"gentry," became uncontrollable, and began to hurl 
missiles at the house, principally stones and half 
bricks being used The garden was wrecked, a con> 
servatory was badly damaged, tiles on the roof and 
about forty window-panes were broken. The danger- 
ous missiles came through on to the beds. One of Mr. 
Dodd's sisters was lying ill at the time. Baulked 
in their more dastardly attempts against Mr. Dodd 
and his house, the Imperialists turned their atten- 
tion to the policemen. Chief Constable Prior was 
struck on the ear ; Inspector Greenwood experienced a 
narrow escape, half a brick grazing his head ; In- 
spector Marriner was struck on the legs and back^; 
P.C's Blackford, Gooding, and Hodges were also 
struck. It was 1.30 before the mad mob was dis- 
persed, and then only, as a last resource, by the 



256 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

police in a body penetrating into the centre and scat- 
tering it in all directions with considerable severity 
of treatment Mr. Dodd's house was guarded tiD 
6 a.m. 

Next evening what would have been a much more 
dangerous demonstration was prevented by Chief 
Constable Prior. Anticipating something of a dis- 
turbance, he had placed half a dozen constables be- 
fore Mr. Dodd's house. But by eleven o'clock so 
large a mob had gathered that the thoroughfare was 
almost impassable. Soon after, the full strength of 
the Borough Police Force was marched up to clear 
the space in front of Mr. Dodd's house. There they 
were formed in double line, back to back, right 
across the street, and then told to advance at the 
double in opposite directions. The mob retreated 
before them, and so a space of about fifty yards was 
cleared A cordon of police with interlodced arms 
was kept at each end of the space, and all the by- 
ways and passages were well guarded But beyond 
this the police were powerless: they had no more 
men, and no mounted police to call up, so there they 
had to stand The mob, however, would not disperse. 
The electric arc lamps were kept alight, which ren- 
dered ringleaders more liable to detection, and had 
a deterrent effect upon them. The chief incident 
that now occurred was an attempt to break the cor- 
don. Miles, a cab proprietor of Southborough, in a 
high two-wheeled cart charged the cordon at full 
speed Inspector Greenwood was knocked down, but 
Inspector Marriner and P.C. Blackford, at consider- 
able risk, seized the horse and stopped the rush. 
Miles got three months next morning. 

Within the cleared space and flanked by the cordons 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 2$? 

of interlocked police, stood Mr. W. C. Cripps, Town 
Clerk, for the purpose, it was said, of reading the 
Riot Act if occasion should arise. He was accompa- 
nied by Alderman H. H. Cronk, Alderman G. Find, 
Councillor W. H. Tinne, Comidllor Edwards, 
Councillor Passingham, and other prominent men 
of the local governing body. The mob, how- 
ever, which numbered at least 5,000, would not 
disperse, so at midnight the electric bells were rung, 
calling up the fire brigade, and soon the firemen, duly 
helmeted, appeared in full force and marched to 
where the police stood their ground, gaining access 
to the enclosure by strategically marching up Mount 
Ephraim Road and entering the enclosure by a nar- 
row side alley from Rock Villa Road They formed 
up in line behind the police, and there they stood 
until about one o'clock, when the order was given to 
charge. Drawing their batons, the police charged, 
backed by the firemen, first walking and then running 
sharply, and soon the mob was broken up. Detach- 
ments of police pursued and broke it up further in 
adjoining streets tmtil it was thoroughly scattered. 
In the rush of the crowd to get away several people 
were injured, one woman having her arm broken. By 
two o'dock there was at last quiet, but it took that 
time to scatter the ImperiaUsts from the various 
streets. Police and firemen dfd their work well, as 
many a ''patriot's" head and hide testified next 
morning. Tunbridge Wells seems one of the few 
places where the police did all they really could, 
backed by the Town Council, which expressed its re- 
grets officially to Mr. Dodd next day. Chief Con- 
stable Prior deserves great praise. 
Next night (Thursday) a considerable crowd assem- 

E 



258 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

bled, and up to midnight the thoroughfares were 
thronged. Every preparation had, however, been 
made by the police for any emergency, and the mob 
was kept on the move, while the arc lamps were kept 
burning. A heavy shower helped to damp the Im- 
perialism of the mob, and the night passed without 
any serious incident 
Mr. Dodd goes gamely ahead in his good work. 



tMl WBW Y')HK 

PUBLIC LIBRART 



CHAPTER XX. 

PENISTONE, 2 1 ST OF APRIL. 

When the meeting that was to have been held iii 
Sheffield on the nth March had to be abandoned 
as already related, one of the local papers wondered 
what Mr. H. J. Wilson, ^a very determined man/' 
would do next 

This chapter relates what he did 

Mr. Wilson is M.P. for the Holmfirth divisioa A 
meeting of Liberal delegates from his division was 
to meet at Penistone on Saturday, the 21st April. 
About a week before the date Mr. Wilson wrote ask« 
ing if I would come down and address this Congress 
of Liberal delegates at Penistone on that date. I at 
once agreed My name was not advertised, but it 
was made known that the meeting would be of '' ex- 
ceptional importance.'' Only the Chairman and 
Secretary were consulted by Mr. Wilson. Reporters 
were arranged for; one came from the Manchester 
Guardian^ and in addition to three others, Mr. Wilson 
had a private reporter to take an official report At 
the last moment, when assembled in the hall, the dele* 
gates were to be asked if they would like me to 
address them. If they said yes, I was to be forth- 
coming. 

On arriving at Sheffield at 5 p.m from London (I 
had been so busy that I had to make the notes for 
my speech while in the train), I was met pn the 
platform by Mrs. and Miss Wilson, and quickly hur- 
ried along to their compartment, that I might not be 

( 259 ) Ra 



26o THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

spotted, and we were off to Penistone. On arriving 
at the hall (in a closed cab from Penistone Station), 
I went into the gallery with Mrs. and Miss Wilson^ but 
a message came up at once, and I found that a resolu- 
tion had been put to the meeting and carried unani- 
mously that I should be invited to speak. Ten 
minutes after my arrival I was speaking. 

This was the only time (in addition to what I said 
at the Liberal Conference on the 14th February) that 
I was properly reported when making a speech while 
in Great Britain : at the same time it was one of the 
few opportimities I had of making a speech in peace. 

The report of the speech,* corrected and revised, 
from the Holmfirth Express^ is as follows : — 

"Mr. Cronwright Sdireiner then addressed the 
meeting in a speech of nearly one hour's duration. 
He said he felt that in being asked to address that 
meeting he had been honoured as he had not been 
before in England Not that he had not received 
very much kindness and many invitations to speak, 
but the meeting gathered together there was one of 
exceptional interest in his opinion, as he understood 
it was an assembly of delegates from the Liberal con- 
stituency of Holmfirth. (Hear, hear.) Therefore, he 
took it as a very great honour to stand before them, 
and thanked them very much for having asked him to 
speak. It was a very great pleasure and honour to 
occupy the same platform as their chairman and their 
Member. The Chairman, he understood, - was the 
son of a sire who carried on the fight before him, the 
same fight he was carrying on now — a fight against 
».— — — ■^■^^^^— ■<— .^— ^— — ■— ■ ■ '■■ ~'^^^™ I ■ ' — ^»^^^— — — ^j^^ 
* It was issued as a penny pamphlet 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 261 

a war which is unjust, and a fight for freedom of 
utterance in his own country. (Cheers.) 

*" Free Speech Menaced. 

" With regard to what the Chairman had said about 
his own efforts, he would like to say this» that he did 
not identify the mob with the nation, nor even with 
the town wherein it assembled and disgraced the name 
of Ei^ishmea (Hear, hear.) They found in every 
community a number of people who lacked manliniMfft^ 
gentlemanly behaviour, and bravery. Those were 
the people who assembled in mobs and who con- 
sideied it brave to attack single individuals and hustle 
women, and who considered they were upholding the 
honour of England by breaking down what was an 
Englishman's greatest herits^, periiaps — ^free speech 
— (cheers)— men who were clamouring for free speech 
for ahens in another country and refusing it to their 
fellow subjects in their own country. (Renewed 
dieers.) He found it was assumed that the moment 
they took what the war party called a pro-Boer atti* 
tttdb they identified themselves with the cause of the 
Boer, and appeared as the Boer's champions. Now 
his attitude was taken, and he assumed that of his 
audience was, because they held they were safeguard- 
ing the permanent interests of Great Britain and of 
the Empire; not only because they wanted to see 
justice done to another and a smaller people, but 
because they wanted to see their own people do the 
great, and the la^;e, and the statesmanlike thing. If 
any section of the country was to be considered as its 
enemy it was that which arrogated to itself the title 
of Imperialist, the section which lost sight of the 
great issues which lay beyond the present 



ii(t)ir:^i 



262 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

and concentrated its attention upon some felse issue 
of the moment which obscured its sight He held 
that in this matter he was looking to the permanent 
interests of the Empire, and he was as certain as that 
two and two made four that history would endorse 
the attitude of himself and friends towards this 
momentous questioa (Hear, hear.) It seemed also 
to be assumed by people who did not tCnk as they 
thought that the moment they took a hostile attitude 
to the war they vilified the soldier. Now, he was one 
of those who wished to see war cease in all parts of the 
world, just as duelling had ceased as a method of 
settling individual disputes; and he desired to see 
an international court of arbitration formed for setthng 
international disputes. But he had a profound re- 
gard for any man who was prepared to sacrifice his 
life in the performance of his duty. That was what 
the British soldier was doing, and he honoured him 
for it In his own mind the soldier was satisfied he 
was furthering the interests of Queen and country, 
and for that he was prepared, if need be, to die. If 
all of us were prepared, each according to his highest 
conception of what was right, to do our duty as unsel- 
fishly as a brave soldier, it would be well (Hear, 
hear.) 

"Against Kruger's Policy. 

" It further seemed to be assumed that the moment 
you took a hostile attitude to the war you upheld the 
whole of President Kruger's poUcy. Now, personally, 
he had never been one who zgrecd with Mr. Kruger in 
his policy of exclusion of the Outlanders. He thought 
Ex^land had no right to interfere in the internal af- 
fairs of the Trans\'aal, but in regard to the Outlanders 
Mr. Kruger pursued a policy which he (the speaker) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 263 

considered foolish. It might be that Mr. Kruger had 
a right to do as He did, and his judgment was as much 
to be considered in his own country as anyone's, even 
more so ; but he did not think the policy of exclusion 
was either a wise or a safe policy. There was another 
popular impression, fostered often by a hostile press, 
which had perhaps done more than anything else to 
rouse the mobs in the centres through which he had 
passed. It was immediately assumed thai somehow 
one must be acting as an emissary for Dr. Leyds. Now 
he had never seen Dr. Leyds, never had any inter- 
course with him in any possible way, either directly 
or indirectly, either in writing or through other people. 
He knew nothing about Dr. Leyds, and as a matter 
of fact he held Dr. Leyds's influence to have been 
evil 

•* Not a Supporter of the Bond. 

''Nor did he stand there as a protagonist of the 
Africander Bond. To that association he had always 
been in antagonism. He did not approve its policy 
in regard to the internal affairs of Cape Colony. 
Again, he had never been a party man. There were 
certain views he held, and it was immaterial to him, 
personally, who took them up. What he wanted was 
to have them taken up and put through So that 
what he said now he did not say on behalf of the 
Africander Bond, or of any party. He had brought 
what knowledge and intelligence he had to the study 
of these questions, and he had arrived at certain con- 
clusions which he held to be right, and which he 
wished to put before the people of this country who 
could not possibly know as much as he did, because 
they had not had the same opportunities of knowing. 
(Cheers.) 1 ] [i^ 



264 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 
"What is the War About? 

'* It pazzled anyone to ascertain what the war was 
about He could not get the same reply bom two 
people. One would tell you it was about the ban- 
chise, losing sight of the fact that, whereas at Bloem- 
f ontein Sir Alfred Milner had demanded a five years* 
franchise, seven seats for the Goldfields and one-fifth 
of the seats in the Raad for the Goldfields as a mini- 
mum, Mr. Kruger had offered a five years' franchise, 
eight seats, and one fourth of the seats in the Raad 
as a minimum ; losing sight also of the fact that there 
was now in the Transvaal a seven years' naturalisa- 
tion and franchise law, which was actually more liberal 
in character and with less irritating restrictions than 
the franchise law in this country, because it carried 
with it not only the right to the franchise the moment 
one was naturalised, but gave a man the right to 
vote for both of the Legislative Councils and for the 
President and Commandant-General In this country, 
when certain tortuous steps, which m^ht occupy nearly 
seven years in getting over, had been taken, the en- 
franchised one could only vote for one Chamber, and 
all that the representatives of the people did in that 
Chamber might be neutralised or rejected by the here- 
ditary Assembly. (Hear, hear.) Then it was said it was 
a question of securing equal rights for white people, 
while many who said tUs were clamouring for the 
disfranchisement of whole districts in Cape Colony in 
which a few people who had been goaded to more 
than they could endure had taken up arms against 
Great Britain, and their object in doing this was that 
they might be able to govern the country through a 
minority. Another would tell you it was a matter of 
taxation, losing sight of the fact that taxation in the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 265 

Transvaal was less than that per head in Cape 
Colony, and that whereas under the Transvaal gold 
law the taxation ranged from 2}i perhaps to 5 per 
cent ; in Rhodesia, which was British territory, the 
Chartered Company had a right to 50 per cent in* 
terest on all claims foimd, and an absolute monopoly 
of all diamonds. He believed it was a fact that at 
Klondike, in British territory, the miners had 
petitioned that the Transvaal gold laws should be 
introduced there instead of those now in operation. 
And as for the talk of a tax being put upon food- 
stuffs, the Transvaal was the one State in South Africa 
where no special tax was laid on food. The conse- 
quence was that, although Johannesburg was 1,000 
miles inland, living was as cheap there (as regards 
food) to the plain livers as at Kimberley. So that, 
whatever the argument put forward for the war, he 
had always found an adequate answer was forthcom- 
ing. But when these so-called arguments had^been 
exploded one after another, their opponents aban- 
doned them altogether, and said the war was about 
something else. Now, it was said that Great Britain 
must take possession of the Republican States for the 
sake of the natives, and because a great conspiracy 
had been hatched in the country to oust the British 
from South Africa. With regard to the natives, it was 
sufficient to state this : that when the native laws in 
the Transvaal were much worse than they were to-day 
Mr. Cecil Rliodes advocated that the Cape Colony 
should bring its native policy into line with that of 
the Transvaal; and, further, to point out that that 
policy had the emphatic approval of the Outlander 
population; in fact, the only complaint the mining 
magnates had to find with the native policy of the 



266 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

Transvaal was that, in the matter of labour, it was not 
stringent enough. But let no one misunderstand him. 
He did not defend that policy. He held that the native 
policy was bad throughout South Africa, but that it 
was worse in Rhodesia (in British territory) than else- 
where. (Applause.) With regard to the * conspiracy/ 
he would state a few facts. If this allegation meant 
anything, it meant that the Dutch of Cape Colony 
were in it, because they outnumbered the Dutch of the 
Repubhcs. He reckoned that, whereas the two Re- 
publics could only put 50,000 soldiers in the field, at 
most, at the beg^ning of the war, the Cape Colony 
could put in 80,000 men of the roost serviceable type, 
every one of them able to ride and shoot as few men in 
this world could. In 1 895, before the Raid occurred, the 
Orange Free State and the Cape Government were 
prepared to join Great Britain in war against the 
Transvaal over so trifling a matter as the drifts. Up 
to the end of 1895, Mr. Rhodes was Premier of Cape 
Colony, and the leader of the party which was sup- 
posed to have conspired ; he was trusted and in their 
confidence as no Premier before or since had been. So 
that if any conspiracy were hatching at that time — 
which, he was sure, was not the case — Mr. Rhodes must 
have known about it After the Raid, in 1 896, the Raads 
of the Transvaal and of the Orange Free Stafe passed 
a resolution asking the Imperial Government to abro- 
gate the Charter, and place Rhodesia under direct 
Imperial control. (Applause) At the same time the 
Cape Colony Government passed a resolution against 
the proposal. In 1898 the General Election took 
place, and the cry of the Dutch throughout Cape 
Colony was: 'We must win this Election or there 
will be war.' The Dutch did not want war; they 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 26; 

ivanted to live at peace among themselves and with 
their neighbours. In 1 898 the Cape Parliament — the 
Dutch being in a majority and having their own Min- 
istry in power (of course, aided by others not Dutch) 
— ^introduced a Bill which was voted for by every 
Dutchman present, giving £30,000 annually to the 
fleet of this country, and handed over the most im- 
portant naval station in the Southern hemisphere — 
Simonstown — to the Imperial authorities. He thought 
all would agree with him, that any one of these facts 
was enough to knock the idea of a conspiracy on the 
head; but when you had half-a-dozen facts of this 
kind, to talk of a conspiracy to oust the British from 
South Africa was to talk what could only be de- 
scribed as utter nonsense. So that the justification of 
the war, the arguments which went before it, or the 
€x post facto arguments, broke down when examined. 

"A Capitalists' War. 

" What was the truth about this war ? He would 
tell them what he thought about it It was a capi- 
talists' war — (cheers)— into which England had been 
juggled He was as satisfied of this as the Trans- 
vaalers were, and as the Dutch and many others 
throughout Cape Colony were. The opinion of men 
who could not speak a word of English was that if 
the British people had known the facts, and if the 
Queen had known the facts — they are thinking the 
Queen had the same power as their President had — 
this war would never have been allowed That was 
what the Dutchmen said, and they did not regard it 
so much as a war with England as between the people 
of South Africa and the mining capitalist group as to 
who should dominate the legislatures of the country. 



268 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

They did not blame the British people, who they 
believed were acting in perfect honesty, though in 
ignorance of the real facts ; nor did they blame the 
British soldiers, but they said, as he did, and said it 
in perfect honesty : ' The soldier is doing his duty ; 
but why should he die or we for a matter which can 
be of no advantage to South Africa or England?* 
They went straight to the heart of the questi<Hi, as 
simple folk generally did, especially folk like the 
Dutch, who had an extraordinary faculty for tearing 
the heart out of a situation and graspii^ the essential 
fact that lay underneath. They said there were four 
factors to blame for the present war, one dominating 
the rest ; and the man they blamed most was Mr. 
Rhodes. (Applause.) Their idea was this — ^it was 
held practically unanimously by gg out of every lOO, 
if not by more : they said Rhodes had got a hold on 
Chamberlain somehow, that he had bought up most of 
the Press of South Africa, that he had misinformed the 
English people, and that by misinforming them and 
by having this hold on Mr. Chamberlain, and getting 
a man like Sir Alfred Milner out there, who^ perhaps 
honestly, acted as a tool for the capitalists — as he cer- 
tainly had done — ^that by these means the war had 
been forced on the country. These were the men 
whom the Dutchmen rightly blamed, and whose ulti- 
mate aims they clearly saw. 

* The Raid, 

** He wished them to look for a moment at the situa- 
tion before the Raid It was customary to say that the 
Dutch of the Transvaal were united in wishing to keep 
the Outlanders disfranchised, and that Kruger was 
an autocrat who dominated the whole State. Both 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 369 

statements were quite ixKx>rrect In 1893 there was a 
contest for the Presidency between Mr. Kruger and 
Mr. Jouberty and that election was fought upon the 
<Iuestion as to whether the Outlanders should be dis- 
franchised or not Mr. Kruger was victorious by a 
narrow majority ; but none could doubt that, but for 
the Raid, Joubert and the pro-Outlander party would 
have won easily at the next Presidential Election in 
1898. As showing the hollowness of tfie agitation 
before the Raid, they had Mr. Lionel Phillips's state- 
ment that ' nobody cared a fig about the franchise ' ; 
also a cable from Dr. Rutherfoord Harris to Mr. 
Rhodes, in November, 1895, stating that a settlement 
was likely to be arrived at, which would be a bad 
thing for the Chartered Company. The real begin- 
ning of the present trouble was after the Raid. Mr. 
Rhodes had alienated the vast majority of the white 
population of the Cape Colony ; he had the two Re* 
publics solid against him, nearly all the Outlanders as 
well as the burghers ; Natal was not a field which af- 
forded any scope to his enterprise ; and Rhodesia was 
on his hands with no prospect of paying a penny as 
far as any mortal could see. That was the situation 
in South Africa after the Raid. Mr. Rhodes had not 
the slightest chance of ever coming to the front again 
in the political life of South Africa unless he could 
get up a war to smash the Dutchmen. When he (Mr. 
Schreiner) came to England in 1897 he pointed this 
out to leading men, and warned them of the danger of 
war, and begged them to guard against it That was 
Mr. Rhodes's position. The position of the mining 
capitalists generally was this: that they were in a 
minority in all the Parliaments of South Africa, in the 
Cape Colony, in the Free State, and in the Transvaal 



270 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Their problem was how to obtain control of the l^s- 
latures of the various States so that they might obtain 
political control for financial purposes and twist legis- 
lation to protect themselves, sweat the native, and 
make the life of the average Outlander more burden- 
some. They had tried by spending money in the 
Transvaal to obtain a dominant influence in the Raad ; 
but, notwithstanding the charges of gross corruption 
brought against the Transvaalers, the capitalists had 
been unable to influence the Raad to the extent they 
desired. So they set about it in another way, and 
their new method was not to leave the country in 
peace, but to keep stirring up strife and hammering 
at it, and so keep the burghers in one political camp, 
and solid against reform. Captain Younghusband, 
the correspondent of the Times, writing at the time, 
said that the only thing which kept the burghers 
united was fear of attack. The inference was that if 
fear of attack were removed, the problems agitating 
the country would be solved. But the capitalists did 
not want the matter settled in any way but one which 
would give them control of the legislature. 

"An Anti-Dutch Plot. 

" There was a plot in South Africa at that time, but 
it was an anti-Dutch plot, and not a plot to drive 
the Englishmen into the sea (Applause.) It was a 
plot hatched by the mining magnates to crush the 
Dutchmen and secure control of the Raads. Mr. 
Hobson, in his chapter, * How the Press was worked 
before the war,' Had shown how they set to work. 
They bought up wholly, or in part, most of the leading 
papers throughout South Africa; they had their 
own men as correspondents to some leading London 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 271 

papers ; and they steadily set to work to misinform 
the British Press, as they had done before the Raid. 
He did not deny that grievances existed in the Trans- 
vaal — they existed in every country — but in the case 
of the Transvaal they were either manufactured or 
grossly exaggerated He (Mr. Schreiner) lived in 
Johannesburg throughout that agitation, and knew 
how it was conducted. The agitators were a small, very 
wealthy lot, but they got a considerable backing by 
working up race feeling ; although it was an undeni- 
able fact that the bulk of the Outlander population, 
including most of the British miners and many 
other British, were on the side of the Trans- 
vaal — not as against Great Britain, but as 
against the mining capitalists. They regarded 
it all along as a quarrel with the mining 
capitalists. What these capitalists thought may be 
inferred from the remark one of them made to him : 
' If we could get control, my God ! what a lot of money 
we'd make.' The Johannesburg capitalists' agitators 
were aided by the influence which Mr. Rhodes ap- 
peared to have over Mr. Chamberlain ; they were also 
aided by Sir Alfred Milner, who was held by those 
who knew him to Be a man of strict integrity ; but it 
was impossible to deny that he was a violent and 
narrow partisan. Any man in Johannesburg appeared 
to have his ear at once if he represented the case 
against the Dutch, but any other man from Johannes- 
burg or Cape Colony seemed to be looked upon by 
him as necessarily an enemy, and to be distrusted as 
such. Consequently, Sir Alfred Milner got his in- 
formation from unreliable and interested sources, in- 
stead of from disinterested, reliable, and well-accred- 
ited sources. The representations of the Cape Minis- 



i^a THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

try had been treated as dtsst in the balance against 
those of the great mining group. Referring to the in- 
sincerity of the capitahst group, Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner said that if one had been in Johannesburg 
when these people were clamouring for equal treat- 
ment, and could have seen them when the Transvaal 
concessions gradually approached the thing they had 
demanded, one would have seen how despondent they 
were. They walked about, he might say, like wet 
fowls, the picture of woe and misery. In fact, they 
were the talk of the place. Something good has hap- 
pened, it used to be said, because these agitators 
looked so thoroughly despondent On the other hand, 
their spirits went up when anything happened to keep 
the friction going. That was the plot to get hold of 
the Transvaal Legislature. But it did not stop there ; 
for if they had got that, there would still have been a 
majority against them in the Cape Legislature ; so at 
the General Election in 1 898 they raised the cry that 
British supremacy was in danger. 

" Capitalists and the Settlement. 

" They were now actually asking for the disfran- 
chisement of the Dutch in various places, with the 
object, as is boldly declared by one paper, of giving 
the Rhodes party (the minority) control oF the Cape 
Parliament, and thus dominance throughout South 
Africa ; for it was calculated that the war would give 
the capitalists control in the Republics. When one 
lived in South Africa and saw how the Capitalist and 
Jingo papers ixisulted and goaded the Dutch, one was 
astounded at the long-suffering and tolerance of the 
Dutch of the Cape Colony. Everything had been 
done to goad them into insurrection; and now the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 273 

same Capitalist "party were actually dictating terms of 
settlement to the British Cabinet, instead of allowing 
the British people to decide. The result of the war 
would be that South Africa would be handed over, 
tied hand and foot, to a small gang of mining capital* 
ists. He said this despondently ; but the forces which 
had brought the war about were still at work, and, he 
feared, would be strong enough to force the hand of 
the British Cabinet, perhaps through Mr. Chamberlain, 
to a settlement whereby the persons and interests that 
had produced the present trouble — that they might 
pro&t by it — ^would in the end secure the profit they 
anticipated England probably would not be able to 
tax the mineowners on account of the war, so that the 
whole cost would fall upon the people of this country. 
The mining group would go back in command of 
everything, and if the Imperial Government did rule 
directly for some time, they were confident that, being 
on the spot, and wielding the enormous influence they 
did, they would be able to run the country pretty much 
as they liked, and twist the legislation to their own 
capitalist ends. (Hear, hear.) 

" Wages and the Compound System. 

"One end they had in view was a reduction of 
wages, and another was the introduction of the ' com- 
pound ' system, which he held to be one of the worst 
systems which ever degraded a modem State. (Ap- 
plause.) It was not only unfair to the native, but it 
acted very injuriously upon the whole population. 
The result of the ' compound ' system at Kimberley 
had been this — ^that within a few years after the amal- 
gamation of the mines imd the introduction of the 
'compound' system, the white population of Kim- 

s 



274 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

berley and Beaconsfield had dwindled, he thought, 
about 40 per cent At Johannesburg there were about 
80,000 natives employed on the mines, and they drew 
a little over £i per month each on the ave- 
rage — that is, ;C3,ooo,ooo per annum. The 
introduction of the 'compound' system would 
mean the shutting up of these men and the 
withdrawal of their spending power from among 
the general population The natives, instead of spend- 
ing their money freely among the whole population, 
would be forced to make their purchases in the 
'tommy shops' of the companies, within the 'com- 
potmds,' after the manner of the 'truck system' of 
America. The general populace would be impover- 
ished, and dwindle away, while the capitalist would 
gradually absorb not only the mining interests but the 
commercial interests as well. Freedom for black and 
white alike would depart, and Johannesburg be re- 
duced to a second Kimberley, which was the least free 
place on God*s earth, he firmly believed, at the present 
moment (Cheers.) Those were the economic effects, 
put shortly, but there was a graver effect stilL The 
whole white population of South Africa was about 
800,000. If they divided that population into three 
sections — Dutch, British, and non-British — he calcu- 
lated the Dutch outnumbered the British by 170,000. 

** Danger Ahead. 

" Now, they might say that after the settlement the 
country was going to contain a very much larger num- 
ber of non-Dutchmen. He (the speaker) said that 
could not be. It might be so for a little while ; but 
the mining interests would amalgamate — ^they would 
gradually reduce the cost of working, replace, as hx 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 275 

as possible, white labour by black, and absorb the 
commercial interests of the community, thus rendering 
the possibility of a great permanent increase of non- 
Dutchmen visionary. On the other hand, the Dutch 
were on the land, they weze the permanent population, 
and they were a remarkably proli&c race. The Dutch 
were absolutely certain in the future to be in a much 
greater numerical superiority than at present Before 
this trouble — ^this wretched capitalist war — ^the Dutch* 
of the Cape Colony were passionately attached to this 
country. Their belief in it and in the Queen was 
something pathetic Their love for the Queen was 
shown by the fact that if one went through Dutch- 
speaking districts of the Cape Colony one would find 
in the houses more portraits of the Queen than one 
would find in a similar number of houses in Great 
Britain, and that the people pointed to them with 
pride. Th^ regarded her with the greatest affection 
as a Christian lady who loved them, and always sought 
peace. This was the population which, if the Empire 
had had to go to war, were as good ^hting material 
as any that could be had anywhere. Was it wise to 
alienate so brave, loyal, and devoted a people ? And 
yet the policy which was being unwittingly pursued by 
this nation was straining and alienating tihe affections 
of the large majority of British subjects in the Cape 
Colony. It was a great loss to lose the affections of 
any people; it was a grave danger as well 
as a loss to alienate the affections of people 
in a widespreading and vulnerable Empire like ours. 
It was an extraordinarily unstatesmanlike and unwise 
thing to do, to alienate perhaps the best fighting 
people of a widespreading Empire, and those the 
majority in a particularly important and vulnerable 

82 



2/6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

part of the Empire. To defeat 50,000 Boers we found 
it necessary to put over 200,000 of our picked troops 
in the field. But the whole Dutch population of South 
Africa could put in the field 1 30,000 of the best moun- 
ted infantry in the world, which could have defended 
the country against any invaders. But if these people 
were alienated, as they stood every chance of being 
by the capitalist war, and they were to rise when 
Gxeat Britain was involved in a life and death struggle 
with the great Powers of Europe, they could only be 
put down by 300,000 or 400,000 picked British troops^ 
which at a critical moment would be needed elsewhere 
to saf^fuard the interests of the Empire. 

" Is It Wise ? 

'* When the safety of the Empire might require the 
whole of her army in another part of the world was it 
wise to pursue a policy which would necessitate its 
presence in a country which the inhabitants would 
themselves, if justly treated, have been glad to pro- 
tect and defend against any Power in the world ? He 
put that as one of the injuries the capitalists had done 
Great Britain in South Africa. It made him 
hot and angry to think of the harm the 
capitalists had done to the Empire and to 
his fellow South Africans. He did not like to 
see any people dominated from the centre as old 
Rome dominated her provinces ; he desired to see 
the Colonies governing themselves, as Australia now 
proposed to govern itself, and tied to the Mother 
Country by bonds of sympathy and love. That was 
the strength of a people — to be held together by 
affectioa (Applause.) It was true that to r^;ard the 
matter foom the point of fighting strength to the Em- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 277 

pire was to look af it from a selfish and not a very high 
standpoint But it was a high standpoint to r^ard it 
as an irreparable loss if the affections of a people are 
alienated But there was a higher ground with re- 
gard to the Republics, and he appealed to them on 
that ground. Whzt right had we to take their country 
from these people, who, on the whole, had governed it 
so well ? It was not for a free and generous people 
like the British to crush small nationalities, which, if 
left to themselves, would grow and be a benefit to 
humanity at large: (Cheers.) He appealed to his 
hearers to stand together for the truest interests of the 
Empire and humanity. If they saw any party doing 
anything like sheer annexation and the subjugation of 
a free people, let them not help such a party. If such 
a thing had to be done, let it be done against their 
protest, their most vigorous protest, by speech and 
action in every possible way. (Applause.) " 

To this, on publication, I added, by request, a note 
on the compound system as follows : — 

" The compound system is in force in Kimberley, in 
the Cape Colony, under the De Beers Consolidated 
Mines Company. The compounds are prisons erected 
around the orifices of the shafts of the diamond mines. 
The Company employs from eight to ten thousand 
natives, who are incarcerated in these prisons, which 
they may not leave at all until they leave for good 
Those that work undergroimd can only go down into 
the mine and back into the compound Those that 
work on the * floors ' (pieces of land where the ' blue,' 
the volcanic day in which the diamonds are found, 
is damped down to pulverise by the action of the 
weather, are guarded by white men, and further shut 



378 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

in by high baxbed wire fences. They return to the 
compounds to sleep. These thousands of natives are 
shut up in these prisons (one of which, at any rate, is 
wholly or partially netted over with wire netting like 
a bird cage) for months at a time. Thousands of 
young, virile men crowded together in a small space, 
in a hot country, surrounded by corrugated iron, and 
sleeping in corrugated iron shanties abutting against 
the enclosure, cut off absolutely from the rest of the 
world, separated from their tribes, their women-folk 
and children Within the compounds the company has 
its own shops, at which the natives are compelled to 
purchase all they need during the period of their im- 
prisonment" 

At Mr. Wilson's request I remained over to meet a 
number of people at his house on Monday evening, 
and I thus had the pleasure of getting to know the 
Wilsons. 

There was some risk of window-breaking at Osga- 
thorpe Hills on Monday night, as the report of Satur- 
day's meeting would be out on Monday, and, notwith- 
standing that every care was taken on my return to 
Sheffield from Penistone that it should not transpire 
what my movements were, it was known I had gone 
up to the Wilson's house. But Mr. Wilson, his wife 
and family, took the risks without a word. 

On Monday morning Mr. and Mrs. Wilson drove me 
out to see Edward Carpenter, at Millthorpe. We 
drove through the whole length of the town As we 
passed a certain comer, Mr. Wilson told me of an in- 
cident that occurred there many years ago. Mr. Cham- 
berlain was a great Radical then, and was standing for 
a division of Sheffield, and Mr. Wilson was chairman 
of his election coounittee. As Mr. Chamberlain came 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 279 

past that comer, a dead cat struck him in the back. 
"Joe was awfully angry," said Mr. Wilsoa Mr. 
Chamberlain was defeated, but he made some effec- 
tive replies to questions. All questions had to be 
written. Mr. Chamberlain answered them promptly. 
His best reply was to the question : " Is there any 
truth in the allegation that you squeezed out your 
screw competitors at Birmingham ? " " No ! " said 
Mr. Chamberlain. **The allegation is false, and the 
allegator knows it" 

We had a pleasant time with Edward Car- 
penter in liis simple little house, with the 
dinner preparing in the oven in the front 
room. I knew Carpenter personally, but long 
before I met him I loved his writings — especially 
" England's Ideal " and " Towards Democracy " — ^in- 
deed, I had read an essay upon his books in Kimber- 
ley, introducing him for the first time to that pluto- 
cratic diamond centre. 

In the afternoon, Mr. H. C. Wilson showed me over 
their metal (principally gold and silver) refining works, 
where about seventy to eighty hands are employed. 
The processes are most complex and varied, and very 
interesting to one who knows something of chemistry. 

In the evening a company of about 100 assembled 
at Mr. Wilson's house and discussed South African 
affairs. There was no mob ; and I returned to Lon- 
don next morning without mish<^. 



Chapter XXI. 

BATTERSEA, THE 6TH OF MAY. 

Part I. 
The Battersea Stop the War Committee. 

No place in Great Britain holds so honourable a 
position in xegard to the war in South Africa as Bat- 
tersea; no place so publicly and unremittingly de- 
nounced the war, no place so thoroughly vindicated 
the right of free speech ; in short, no place has so man- 
fully and strenuously upheld, in the face of all op- 
position, the best traditions of the British nation. 

It was the only place in Great Britain where it was 
possible for me to address without organised rowdy- 
ism an open, well-advertised public meeting. 

In reply to my request, the Battersea secretary, Mr. 
C. Parsons, whose work in connection with the matter 
has been beyond all praise, and whom I had the 
pleasure of meeting several times, writes to me (under 
date September, 1900) the following accotmt, which I 
give verbatim. Freedom-loving Battersea deserves a 
full opportunity to make its own statement 

" Dear Mr. Schreiner, 

" The first organisation in Battersea to make 
a protest against the war in South Africa was the local 
branch of the Social Democratic Federation Some 
time before war broke out, the active members of that 
body were doing their best to interest the people in 
the neighbourhood in South African politics. Open 

( 280 ) 



►■^ 



C. PARSONS 
n. Sec, Billersea Conn 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 281 

air meetings were held, and a large number of leaf- 
lets and pamphlets circulated This work was con- 
tinued during the first three months of the war. Early 
in January, however, at one of their business meetings, 
the Social Democrats decided to extend their work, 
and a resolution was carried unanimously to form a 
local anti-war committee for the purpose of carrying 
on a vigorous agftation against the war. Mr. C. 
Parsons was elected hoa sec fro tem.^ and the pre- 
liminary meeting of the proposed committee was held 
on Sunday, the 4th of February. At this meeting it 
was decided to form a Stop the War Committee in 
Battersea. Mr. E. W. Longman and Mr. C. Parsons 
were elected joint secretaries. The secretaries soon 
got to work. Grculars were issued to the various 
trade and political societies, to the local representa- 
tives on public bodies, and to thirty ministers of re- 
ligion, inviting them to join the Committee. An 
appeal to the public for financial assistance was made 
through the pages of the Morning Leader. As a 
result of the circular the following organisations joined 
the Committee, and sent delegates to attend its meet- 
ings : Battersea Labour League, Battersea Ethical So- 
ciety, Battersea Liberal and Radical Association, Bat- 
tersea Spiritualistic Society, Clapham Labour League, 
Battersea branch of the Municipal Employees' Union, 
and Battersea branch of the Amalgamated Society of 
House Painters and Decorators. Of the thirty minis- 
ters who were asked to join the Committee, one, and 
one only, had the courage to do so. With the public 
representatives we were a little more fortunate, as 
several joined the Committee ; our member of Par- 
Uament, Mr. John Bums, did not reply, neither did 
our representatives on the London County Council 



283 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Several members of the local Board of Guardians, and 
some dozen members of the Battersea Vestry — ^includ- 
ii% the chairman — became members of the Com- 
mittee. 

"The Committee, having now got into working 
order, organised a house to house distribution of anti- 
war literature ; several leaflets dealing with the causes 
of the war being placed in addressed envelopes and 
left at the residence of every elector in Battersea. 
When I tell you that there are about i6/X)0 electors in 
Battersea, and that the whole of the work' ol address- 
ing and arranging the envelopes and distributing was 
done by voluntary labour — ^by men and women, who 
have to earn their living by hard work during the day, 
and have but little leisure — ^you will understand the 
big task we had undertaken. But we were bot con- 
tent 

" On Sunday, the 4th of March, the Committee held 
its first public meeting. On that date an open air meet- 
ing was held at a central spot in Battersea, where Mr. 
H. B. Rogers, secretary of the Social Democratic 
Federation, and Mr. John Amall addressed a most at- 
tentive audience. From that date until now, meetings 
against the war have been held every Sunday (weather 
permitting), and not one of them has been broken up. 
In view of what has happened at other places, we feel 
proud of our record. 

'*Two days previous to our first public meeting a 
strong contingent of the Battersea Committee, chiefly 
the Socialist section, attended a meeting at Exeter 
Hall, Strand, called by the Central Stop the War Com- 
mittee, for the purpose of acting as stewards, and 
rendered useful assistance in that capacity. The Jin- 
goes made a big effort to break up the meeting, but 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 283 

did not succeed, although they fought the stewards for 
nearly an hour. The Central Committee sent a letter 
thanking us for our ' splendid services as stewards.' 
Though beaten at Exeter Hall, the Jingoes succeeded 
only too well at other places ; and all over the country 
meetings called to protest against the vrar were 
smashed up by patriotic mobs. 

'' The Battersea Committee, after careful considera- 
tion, decided to protest against this suppression of 
free speech by holding a public meeting in a laj^e 
local halL Mr. Bums, M.P., who had spoken against 
the war in Parliament, was invited to speak, but I am 
sorry to say did not trouble to reply. The Com- 
mittee, of course, were somewhat disappointed ; but 
determined, nevertheless, to go on with the meeting, 
so an invitation was sent to Mr. H M. Hyndman, of 
the Social Democratic Federation, asking him to 
speak. To- his credit, he agreed to do so. Mr. W. 
Williams, J.P., Chairman of the Battersea Vestry, 
promised to preside. The Public Baths, holding 1,000 
people, was secured for the meeting, which we adver- 
tised by placing 100 posters on the hoardings, and 
distributing 5,000 handbills. The local Jingoes pro- 
mised us a lively time, but the Battersea workmen 
were not deterred by threats of violence, and made 
every preparation to make a big fight for freedom of 
speech at public meetings. A large force of stewards 
— ^all volunteers — ^were organised, and attended the 
meeting to maintain order, and to enforce it if need 
be. Under the chairmanship of Mr. Matthews, Mr. 
Hyndman delivered an eloquent and brilliant address, 
and was g^ven a most enthusiastic reception. Letters 
of sympathy from Mr. Leonard Courtney, M.P., Sir 
Wilfrid Lawson, M.P., Mr. H. Labouchere, M.P., Mr. 



284 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

W. T. Stead, Mr. J. Page Hopps, Tom Mann, and Mr. 
S. C Cronwright Schreiner were read to the meeti]:^, 
which was of a most enthusiastic nature. The reso- 
lution, carried with one dissentient, was moved by 
Dr. G. B. Clark, M.P., who said that Battersea was the 
only place in the country where it was possible to hold 
such a meeting. The Jingoes were very much annoyed 
at the success of the meeting. Many had attended for 
the purpose of creating a disturbance ; but the for- 
midable line of stewards and their business-like de- 
meanour had cowed the patriots into proper behaviour. 

" The Committee were overjoyed at such a grand 
meeting, and at their next meeting decided to ask 
Mr. S. C. Cronwright Schreiner to visit Battersea and 
speak at a public meeting. Mr. Schreiner accepted 
our invitatioa The Battersea Town Hall, the largest 
hall in Battersea, was hired, and the following pubUc 
men were also asked to speak : Dr. G. B. Clark, M.P^ 
Mr. George Lansbury (Socialist candidate for Bow 
and Bromley), and Mr. John Bums» M.P. All these 
gentlemen agreed to speak, but Mr. Bums, M.P., can- 
celled his engagement on learning that Mr. Schreiner 
was included in the list of speakers. 

"The Committee, appreciating the importance of 
the meeting, and the risk they were running in adver- 
tising Mr. Schreiner to speak at a fublk meeting, set 
to work and organised their forces in a systematic 
manner. A strong force of volunteer stewards was 
again got together, and every preparation made for a 
sturdy defence of the hall against the patriots, who 
promised to turn our meeting into a bear gardea lOO 
posters were placed on the hoardings, and 5,000 hand- 
bills advertising the meeting were given away. So 
far as the meeting itself is concerned I need say little, 



fc * 



LIBRARY 



f4 p-QdNDATT.'^?-"^ 



MATTHEWS, J, P. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 285 

as you will remember what a fine demonstration it 
proved to be. A strong force of Jingoes attended 
the meeting, and attempted early in the evening to 
make a disturbance. About twenty of them, who 
had come provided with Union Jacks, were put out- 
side by the stewards, who had determined to stand no 
nonsense from patriotic mobsmen. The Chairman, 
Mr. Matthews, J.P., in his opening remarks, told the 
audience that an amendment to the resolution would 
be welcomed, but no disorder would be tolerated This 
however, did not suit the taste of our Jingoes, who had 
attended in the hope of breaking up the meeting ; so, 
finding out the humour we were in, most of them left 
the building soon after the twenty Union Jackasses 
had been expeUed. They amused themselves outside 
by singing * patriotic' songs until the close of the 
meeting. A few of them followed home one of our 
stewards, and the .sequel took place on the Satturday 
night following the relief of Mafeking. On that oc- 
casion the windows of his residence were broken with 
stones. Needless to say, the splendid success of this 
great meeting encouraged us considerably. This was 
the first and last attempt on the part of the Jingoes to 
interfere with public meetings in Battersea. 

'^ On the following Simday, the 1 3th of May, Mr. 
Bums, M.P., made his first public speech in Battersea 
since the outbreak of the war, and ever since then the 
good work has been proceeding. No indoor meetings 
have been held, but regularly, in the open air, meet- 
ings have taken place, and we have proudly unfurled 
at these meetings the Stop the War cartoon by Walter 
Crane, made into a bannerette by one of the members. 
On Sunday, the 12th of August, we had a magnificent 
demonstration against annexation, in Battersea Park. 



286 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

About 4,000 people attended this meeting, and six or 
seven banners of local societies were in attendance. 
In addition to public meetings, over 300,000 leaflets 
have been distributed by members of the Committee, 
and some thousands of penny pamphlets have been 
sold ; and we feel confident that the good work done 
by the Committee has resulted in placing Battersea 
in the forefront of the fight for justice to our friends 
in South Africa. Our efforts have not stopped the 
war. We never thought they would We set out 
with the idea of placing before the people of Battersea 
the true facts which provoked the Boers to war, and 
of breaking down the prejudices against a brave and 
honourable people. 

^ Of the societies affiliated to the Battersea Com- 
mittee, most of the work has been done by the Batter* 
sea branch of the Social Democratic Federation and 
the Battersea Labour League. The Committee has 
tried to work with everyone who is in opposition to 
the war of grab in South Africa. We are affiUated to 
the Stop the War Committee, Transvaal Committee, 
and the South Africa Conciliation Committee, and 
have endeavoured to work with and assist these Com- 
mittees in their work, whilst we on our part desire to 
acknowledge the help they have given us, and 
especially to thank them for the thousands of leaflets 
they have presented us with during the last seven 
or eight months. 

''During the dark days of February, March, and 
April last, the men and women of the Battersea Com- 
mittee put their shoulders to the wheel in a brave 
fashioa Passionately admiring the gallant stand 
being made by the Boers in far away South Africa, 
they did their best to spread the truth amongsSt their 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 28; 

countrymen and womea The parrot cry of 'pro- 
Boer ' did not deter them ; many of them, I know, 
are proud of being called 'pro-Boer.' All sorts of 
lies were spread about them, Kruger^s gold was said to 
have played a prominent part in their activity; but 
whatever was said had no e£Fect, the work went on, 
and is still going oa As I have said before, all of the 
work has been done by volunteers, we have had no 
paid workers^ and our total expenses, including the 
hire of halls, postage, etc, do not amount to £20. 

^ Your Battersea friends join with me in all good 
wishes to Mrs. Schreiner and yourself, and hope to 
see you again at Battersea should you visit England 
in the future. 

"With kind r^^ds, Believe me to remain, 

" Yours truly, 

" C Parsons.** 

Part II. 
The Meeting, and Afterwards. 

This meeting was meant as a deliberate challenge 
to the Imperialists, and no one could say how it would 
turn out; but the Battersea Committee was deter- 
mined to carry it through. Mr. A H. Bum, the Regis- 
tration Agent of the Battersea Liberal and Radical 
Association, wrote to me that they were "fighting 
against ignorance, prejudice, and the paid liars of un- 
scruptilous scoundrels." The meeting was magnifi- 
cently organised. About 500 stewards were enrolled, 
and they were all youngish men who knew their work 
and meant to do it They were admitted to the hall 
by a side door before the meeting began, and were 



288 THE LAND Oi* FREE SPEECH. 

ranged across the back of the hall, up the two sides, 
and up the middle walk. Then the doors were un- 
reservedly thrown open to the general pubUc : every- 
body was free to enter ; no matter what his views, no 
one was prevented Over 1,200 of the general public 
streamed in ; and, when we entered, the hall was 
packed with men and women who gave us a most en- 
thusiastic welcome. It was a Sunday evening. The 
way the stewards kept order was splendid. If any 
man made the least disturbance he was quietly 
touched on the shoulder, and warned. If he repeated 
the offence he was shot out with a celerity that as- 
tonished me. No injuiy was done to him, but he was 
passed along a string of stewards, as men at a hre pass 
a bucket of water, and landed in the street before he 
could collect his senses. As Mr. Parsons says, they 
did not have to eject many. 

I take the following description from a letter I wrote 
to my wife on the loth of May: — 

"They gave me a tremendous reception when I 
entered. Two men. Dr. Clark and Mr. Lansbury, were 
put up to speak before me, so that if there was any 
rowdyism it might be over before my turn came. As 
soon as Dr. Clark rose, a few Imperialists began to 
interrupt proceedings ; but you never saw anything 
like what followed. As they wouldn't stop, they were 
seized by the stewards, about twenty of t^em, passed 
out from hand to hand like rockets and shot out into 
the street like the rubbish they were. It was all over 
in ten minutes, and then the meeting went with a 
swing that was an inspiratioa When I rose, the 
whole hall rose, cheering and wavix^ handkerchiefs 
and hats, clapping and shouting for several minutes 
It was a wonderful sight I felt proud of the Batter- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 289 

sea men who had publicly thrown down the gauntlet 
for free speech and the condemnation of the war, and 
had won. It was a great victory, and of course the 
Jingo and the capitalist papers, not liking it, hardly 
reported it" 

Indeed, I might have added, where they did refer 
to it they lied 

Letters were read from Mr. Leonard Courtney and 
Mr. H. M. Hyndman. 

Mr. W. Matthews, J.P., Chairman of the Battersea 
Vestry, presided; and among those present on the 
platform were:* Mrs. Despard (sister of General 
French), Miss Emily Hobhouse (who also made a short 
speech inviting the women to the big demonstration in 
the Queen's Hall,Langham Place, on the 13th June), 
Captain Alfred Carpenter, R.N., Dr. Colenso, and 
others. 

The resolution was as follows : — 

"That this meeting condemns the policy of Mr. 
Joseph Chamberlain, Sir A. Milner, and Mr. Cecil 
Rhodes in misleading the British public, ignoring the 
Cape Ministry, and wantonly provoking the Trans- 
vaal Government into a war in which the capitalists, 
by introducing compulsory native labour, and further 
exploiting the whole population, will reap all the ad- 
vantages of the conflict, the cost of which will have to 
be paid by the wage-earners of Great Britain; it 
further calls upon the Government of this country to 
bring about an honourable peace by at once stating 
its terms, amongst which shall be a recognition of the 
internal independence of the two Republics ; it fur- 
ther protests against the recent attempts to stifle free 
speech, and congratulates Mr. Cronwright Schreiner 



290 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

on his plucky attempt to vindicate the right of eveiy 
Englishman to express his thoughts freely." 

This was proposed by Dr. Clark, seconded by Mr. 
G. Lansbuiy, and carried with only one dissentient, 
amidst a scene of the wildest enthusiasm. 

While the speaker following me was addressii^ the 
meeting, one of the Committee touched me on the 
shoulder, and said, " Come out now, please." I was 
surprised, but went They then told me they thought 
it better I should go at once by a back exit, and get 
away before the meeting broke up ; they did not anti- 
cipate any trouble, but a number of Imperialists were 
waiting for me on the other side of the hall, and they 
were determined to get me away without any risks. 
I found a regular bodyguard had been appointed lui- 
der the captaincy of Mr. A. H. Bum. They hurried me 
out past the policemen, who said all was clear at the 
moment, and in complete silence we entered the street 
Only a couple kept with me (and Dr. Colenso who also 
came out) ; the others, to avoid attracting attention, 
shadowing me from away back on the other side of 
the street, near enough in case of emergency. As we 
passed the comers, I found the guard had thrown out 
scouts, for Mr. Bum was quietly approached and told 
all was clear. Thus, in "free" England, was I es- 
corted away, and not left until the tram into which 
they put me moved off ; then, still on the opposite side 
of the street, they silently raised their hats, and we 
parted. But before I entered the car I had gone 
across to these fine fellows and shaken hands, bidding 
good-bye to each in tum. I was much touched by 
their tender care of me. I do not know the men, I 
should not recognise them again, for I saw them 
only for a moment by lamp-light» but that silent group 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 291 

as they stood and saw me off in silence and safety 
will never fade from my mind * 

I addressed the following letter to Mr. C Parsons 
after the meeting : — 

" Dear Sir, 

"Please allow me to thank your Committee, 
not only for their kindness towards myself, but also 
for the g^eat service they have done a great cause in 
publicly challenging and triumphantly vindicating the 
right of free speech under the severest test conditions 
that can be applied to it to-day. I am aware that in 
other places, under similar management, I believe, to 
that at Battersea, an equally successful stand has been 
made for the same great principle ; but the Battersea 
meeting had a deeper significance in that it gave the 
challenge best calculated to test the matter by invit- 
ing me to speak at a meeting unreservedly open to the 
general public, and by advertising that meeting thor- 
oughly. As you know, the effort to prevent free speech 
has been specially directed against myself. Battersea 
was the first place that determined to hold, and suc- 
cessfully held, a large public meeting at which the 
man the war party were determined to stop was a 
speaker. This will in future be remembered to Bat- 
tersea's credit, and it should be. My own personality 
is insignificant, except that Tor the time being I hap- 
pened to be the centre around which it turned ; still, 
you will allow me to express not only a deep sense of 
personal gratitude to the gallant men of Battersea, but 

* One of the Battersea posters is worth preserving. It 
was thus:— "War seldom enters but where wealth allures." 
— Dryden. 

" War is the Statesman's game, the Priest's d^ight, 
The Lawyer's jest, the hired Assassin's trac< ^—Shelley. 

Ta 



2g2 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

also a deep appreciation of the service they, as free- 
dom-loving Englishmen, have done to vindicate one 
of the most cherished rights of our nation. The vic- 
tory they have won is more important to the nation 
than any victory upon the stricken fields of South 
Africa. 

" When all worked so well, it is difficult to mention 
any without apparent unappreciation of others, but I 
feel sure that none will grudge a special meed of 
praise to your Chairman, Mr. Matthews, and yourself. 

" The hope of the future lies in organised ' Labour ' 
— a broad platform of 'Labour.' I believe that 
nothing else can stay the threatened dominance and 
degradation of our public life by the international 
speculator capitalist It is thus fitting, and a good 
omen of the future, that ' Labour ' has given the recent 
fine lead to the nation. 

"I am, 

" Yours very sincerely, 

" S. C. Cronwright Schreiner." 

Mr. V. A Van der Byl, attorney, of Cape Town, 
was also on the platform. When discussing the Boers 
I introduced Mr. Van der Byl as a Boer. He got 
an ovation. Mr. Van der Byl is pure Dutch, 
bom in Cape Town, and under thirty years of age. 
When a lad he was sent to England for six years to 
be educated, and only acquired a command of the 
Dutch language after he had grown to man's estate. 
Tall, slight, shaven, and correctly dressed, speaking 
English with an English accent, I think he looked 
even more " English " than I did ! He and his father 
— who were British of the British — ^have, in conse- 
quence of Rhodes, ChamberlaiUi and Milner, been 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 293 

thrown, like so many tens of thousands 'in South 
Africa, on to the Africander side. After I lef t, he ad- 
dressed the meeting amidst much enthusiasm. 

Mr. Matthews^ in his report as Chairman, some nine 
months later, of the yea?s work of the Committee, 
said with pardonable pride that " the only public 
meeting addressed by Mr. Cronwright Schreiner dur- 
ing his stay in England was held in the Battersea 
Town Hall, and proved to be one of the most remark- 
able and enthusiastic gatherings that had ever met in 
that building." 



CHAPTER XXII. 

MANCHESTER, THE ;rrH OF MAY. 

Accepting an invitation from Mrs. L. T. Hobhouse, 
who acted on behalf of the Women's Liberal Associa- 
tions of Manchester, I started on Monday, the 7th of 
May, to address a women's meeting there, which I 
expected to be a small and quite private a£Fair, like 
some of the small meetings I had addressed in Lon- 
doa I was accompanied by Mr. Van der Byl, who 
proposed to join my second northern tour, which was 
to begin at Edinburgh on the 1 8th ; he wanted to see 
the mobs, he said, in addition to helping ; but, fortu- 
nately for him, before that date he was in request 
elsewhere as a speaker on South African affairs, and 
was unable to go anywhere with me except to Man- 
chester. 

Mr. L. T. Hobhouse, who was connected with the 
Manchester Guardian — the one great paper in Great 
Britain that stood firm against the war, thanks to its 
brave and honourable editor and proprietor, Mr. C 
P. Scott, M.P. — ^met me at the railway station, and took 
me up to his house, Birch Hall, Rusholme, where I 
stayed while on my visit Birch Hall is a very old 
and quaint house and historically interestii^. I slept 
in the upstairs room which was once occupied by 
Cromwelli and in which his ghost is still said to 
appear, Alas ! no such view of the great Oliver was 
vouchsafed to me that night. 

To my surprise, I found a hall had been taken, and 
that the meeting was to be quite a large one. 

( 294 ) 






^i"' 



U*i^ 






»*»2i 



i<T*' 



t*»^ 



fO 



av^ 



S»52a 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 295 

It appears that Mrs. Hobhouse determined that a 
meeting should be held in Manchester, at which I 
should be asked to speak. She met with much oppo- 
sition; her husband and Mr. Scott, amongst others, 
tried to dissuade her, pointing out the danger; but 
Mrs. Hobhouse, with that determination and courage 
which has so characterised the behaviour of many a 
woman in this . strenuous time, held on her way un- 
daunted. She arranged it through the Women's 
Liberal Association, under whose auspices the meeting 
was eventually held. Many women assisted Mrs. 
Hobhouse, but that the meeting was held was entirely 
due to hen 

It was quite unknown how the meeting would go 
when I arrived. It had been decided that it should 
be a ticket meeting, and every precaution had been 
taken to keep it as quiet as possible for fear of a riot. 
But, notwithstanding every precaution, on Friday, the 
4th, a hostile Imperialist paper published full details 
of the affair. It appears that an old woman (who 
swept the hall, I think), a sympathiser with the object 
of the meeting, had been given two tickets. A re- 
porter of this Imperialist paper, under the specious lie 
to her that he too was a S3anpathiser, sneaked a ticket 
from her. Having thus secured a ticket, he caused all 
the details about the meeting to be published in his 
paper. This was a serious matter for the promoters 
of the meeting, for unless the move now set sifoot were 
checkmated in some way it meant the capture of 
the meeting, and its break up with personal assault 
on the speakers by the mob. The promoters, feeling 
confident that the Imperialists, having got a ticket, 
would proceed to forge others, proceeded to checkmate 
them by issuing over 700 new tickets of a different 



296 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

shape and device to all those to whom the orij 
tickets had been issued, explaining that only the new 
ones would be available. It was short notice, but a 
new ticket was promptly posted to every original 
ticket holder. 

This was the state of things when I arrived on 
Monday af temooa Naturally, there was considerable 
anxiety. It happened that, on this occasion, the people 
behind the meeting were influential through the power 
of the Manchester Guardian, and, what was perhaps 
even more fortunate, the Chief Constable was a sym- 
pathiser with the Peace movement, and his wife was 
to be present that evening. Needless to say, my 
whereabouts was kept quiet! 

Though a few people hung about the Memorial 
Hall, it was otherwise quiet as we entered. A large 
force of police was in attendance — ^men who meant 
business ! How well the Imperialist spirit and methods 
had been diagnosed was shown by the fact that forged 
tickets were presented at the door; it was an ugly 
blow to these forgers to find they had been outwitted, 
and could not enter ; and it no doubt had an excel* 
lent effect upon subsequent proceedings. 

The meeting, about 700 strong of both sexes, was 
an extraordinary success. There was not a dissentient 
voice. A mob assembled in the street, but was not 
allowed to collect, but requested very incisively to 
" move on " by the police. We could hear their shout- 
ing and *' patriotic ^ singing, but as we were upstairs 
and the mob was small and kept moving by the police 
until it dispersed, we were not inconvenienced, and 
soon quiet again re^ed outside. 

Mrs. C. P. Scott was in the chair, and a large number 
of people were on the platfonOi amooig them Mrs. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 397 

Schwann and Mrs. Hobhouse. Mrs. C P. Soott and 
Mr& Byles are undoubtedly the best women speakers 
I have heard ; indeed, I did not hear many men as 
good. The hall was crowded. 

In the course of an excellent opening address, Mrs. 
Scott said (I quote from the Manchester Guardian) : 

'' The idea of the meeting first arose with some mem- 
bers of Women's Liberal Associations in Manchester 
who were very anxious to hear Mr. Cronwrighi 
Schreiner for themselves. Mr. Cronwright Schreiner 
had most kindly acceded to their nrquest, and had 
specially come to Manchester to speak to them. They 
welcomed in him a fellow-countryman who had been 
I^aced by the circumstances of life in a position which 
had made him familiar with the land and the people 
we were so nearly concerned with at present He was, 
she believed, of purely British descent, but was bom 
in Cape Colony, and had lived there till about three 
years ago, when he made his first visit to England 
Now, if they could for a moment throw aside party 
ghrases and party bitterxtess^ and try to look at the 
differences between ourselves and the Boers simply 
and directly, surely the thing above all others to be 
desired was that we should have someone to speak to 
us who stood in relation to England and to South 
Africa exactly where Mr. Cronwright Schreiner now^ 
stood — someone united to the Mother Country by 
ties of blood and tradition and of loyalty, to the colony 
by community of interest and long intimacy, and to 
both alike by ties of personal friendship ; one who 
was familiar with the drcumstances, aspirations, and 
feelings of the Dutch in South Africa as a man was 
familiar with those of a friendly neighbour whose daily 
life and career had been an open book to him all his 



298 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

days ; one who knew, as we here could not possibly 
know, the efiFect upon our fellow-subjects in the Cape 
of our treatment of their brothers in the RepubUcs. 
On the face of it, was not this what we had most ur* 
gently needed in the past — an interpreter ? And was 
it not also what we needed even more in view of the 
most difficult questions awaiting us in the future: 
questions on the settlement of which would depend 
for generations to come the peace and welfare or the 
misery and discord of South Africa? And having 
found our interpreter, one would surely expect almost 
as a matter of course that he would get from every 
Englishman, whatever his views, an impartial hearing. 
The reverse, however, had been the case, at any rate 
in some instances. They knew the sorry treatment 
which Mr. Cronwright Schreiner had received at the 
hands of some Englishmea She did not for a moment 
mean to insinuate that the violence of the roughs at 
Scarborough and at other places was approved by the 
bulk of the people in this country who supported the 
war. It would be a gross injustice to say so. If it 
were true, we might, indeed, begin to despair of our 
country." 

I was the only speaker, and followed Mrs. Scott 

At the conclusion of my speech a lai^ number of 
questions were asked, some of them very shrewd; 
and the meeting went on to its end triumphantly, get- 
ting more and more enthusiastic 

When I sat down, Mrs. C. E. Schwann rose and 
moved a resolution of thanks for the address, "be- 
lieving that a better knowledge of the facts of South 
African life and the feelings of the loyal Africanders 
is essential to a right conclusion and the settlement 

of the problem in South Africa." 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 299 

While she was speaking, to my siurprise Mr. Hob* 
house touched me on the shoulder and asked me to 
come out I did so, when he explained that they 
thought it better to get me away before the meeting 
broke up, as no one could say what might happen ; so, 
as at Battersea the evening before, I was hurried out, 
accompanied quickly by a couple of policemen to a 
cab near by, which at once went off at a good speed 
with Mr. Hobhouse and myself inside. When it be- 
came dear that we were not followed, the pace les* 
sened, and we eventually got out and walked in the 
quiet cool night the latter part of the way to Birch 
HalL Just as I left the hdJl, before descending the 
stairs, a policeman with medals on his breast touched 
his cap : " I was at Bronkhorst Spruit, sir," he said. 
It was like meeting an old friend I shook hands 
with him heartily. " The Boers are good fellows when * 
you know them, sir," he said, as I was hurried down 
the stairs. Yes ; and that is what a great many more 
men from South Africa will say before long. 

We felt anxious about Mr. Scott, who was so weU 
known, but he and the others got away without 
trouble. And so ended, with complete success, brave 
Mrs. Hobhouse's meeting. 

Later in the evening, as Mr. Hobhouse and I were 
walking in the garden, we saw a couple of men ; 
they turned out to be policemen whom the Chief 
Constable had sent up to guard the house through 
the night. 

With what shame will England look upon all 
this! / 

Next day we lunched with Mr. and Mrs. Scott at 
their residence, and I reached London again on Tues- 
day 



300 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

The Manchester Guardum of the 8th had some 
oommentSi which I give:-^ 

'' Those who heard Mr. Cronwright Schreiner speak 
at the Memorial Hall last night must have felt with 
somethii^ like a sense of achievement that here at 
last they had got at some soch plain, hard facts as 
should guide men taking thought for something so 
precious to them as their country. In the time at his 
disposal he simply stated* with unmistakable sin« 
cerity and earnestness, a series of facts which one must 
know if one is to form a wise wish for England's future 
in South Africa, and of which it has, during these last 
turbid years, been very hard to gain exact knowledge. 
It has» for instance, been freely avowed by those South 
African magnates who expre^ed beforehand the most 
ardent desire for war that they hoped to reproduce in 
a Johannesburg annexed to die Empire many of the 
industrial conditions — from their point of view the 
very desirable conditions — ^already prevailing at Kim- 
berley. That makes it important that we should all 
know what this Rimberley ideal is; and Mr. Cron- 
wright Schreiner^s indisputably correct information 
on the point is relevant and useful His first-hand 
knowledge, again, of Dutch feeling in Cape Colony 
cuts dean through the web of misunderstanding and 
prejudice woven of late between many EngUsh eyes 
and these Dutch feUow-citizens of ours with their pas- 
sionate regard for the Queen and faith in the justice 
of Englishmen as a natioa A true Inq)erialism 
would ask nothing better than that men with Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner's love of England, and know- 
ledge and love of South Africa should carry into every 
village in this country the truth about those things 
of which it is dangerous to the Empire that any of us 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 301 

should remain ignorant At ptesent, for want of 
that knowledge, the majority of Englishmen either 
look on inactively or even applaud while their agents 
throw away with both hands such slowly and hard- 
gotten treasures as the loyalty and attachment won 
from the Cape Dutch by generations of fair-dealing 
administrators. It is still possible to keep or to lose, 
as we wish, what remains of the respect and r^[ard 
of the majority of Cape Colonists for the Empire of 
which they are dtizens, and with it we keep or lose 
the stability and prosperity of our South African Em- 
pire. But we must choose soon, and to choose wisely 
we must know. Such speeches as Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner's help us to know, and they cannot be over- 
looked by anybody who takes seriously the obligations 
of patriotism. 

"In several towns in which Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner had spoken before coming to Manchester 
he had been hooted and hustled by mobs. Here there 
has been nothing of the kind. The large audience in- 
vited to hear him last night were unanimous and en- 
thusiastic; among those who think differently none 
has been found to inflict on this city such a stigma as 
will cling for some time to the names of Scarborough 
and Edinbui^h. This is not to be taken as a sign that 
in Manchester there is a dearth of opponents of Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner's views. It is a s^ — and 
nobody should be more ready to recognise the fact 
than those who in the main agree with Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner — that his opponents here are of the more 
honourable, and, in so far, more formidable, type which 
does not wish to stop other men's appeals to reason 
and conscience by the use of brickbats, knives, or 
corrosive fluids. From the party point of view, in the 



302 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

lower sense, there is perhaps nothing to be more 
wished for than tHat the party, whatever it may be, 
to which one does not belong should show itself to 
be of a mean type. And yet nobody can help being 
glad for his city that in her even those views which he 
holds to be unwise and unjust should not be shamed 
by modes of expression which have put a black mark 
against the names of certain other English cities in 
the minds of men mindful of English traditions." 

I cannot part from Manchester without my tribute 
to Mr. C. P. Scott and his great paper. That Man- 
chester kept its head better tlian most places is due 
to the Manchester Guardian, It will be remembered 
that it was the Manchester Guardian which sent Mr. 
J. A Hobson out to South Africa before the war, and 
in whose columns his truly splendid articles, since am- 
plified and published in book form, appeared. It has 
never ceased to appeal to what is noble in its readers 
and to keep them fully informed. It is the one 
great paper that kept the British flag flying unsullied. 
Its effect for good has been simply incalculable. The 
nation, the Empire, owes a deep debt of gratitude to 
Mr. Scott, and, among others of his able Ueutenants, 
to Mr. L. T. Hobhouse. 



1 






CHAPTER XXIII. 

STROUD GREEN, AND ELSEWHERE; 
THE i6TH of APRIL AND THE I/TH OF MAY. 

Between the date of my address at South Place on 
the 15th of April and my second appearance at Edin- 
burgh on the 1 8th of May I fulfilled several minor 
engagements. 

On the 3rd of May I spoke at a Christian Social 
Union meeting at Mrs. Bradby's, 19, Linden Gardens, 
Bayswater. Among others, Canon Bamett was there, 
and spoke Mr. G. W. E. Russell was in the chair. It 
was a very interesting meeting, admission being by 
ticket As usual the anti-war party had almost a 
monopoly of accurate information. 

On the Sth of May there was a private meeting at 
Captain and Mrs. Alfred Carpenter's, " The Red 
House," Sanderstead, Croydon. This was not known 
to the Croydon Imperialists, so it passed off quietly. 
Captain Carpenter was a Commander in the Navy, 
who retired from his profession to devote himself to 
social work. He is a brother to Edward, and an excel- 
lent cricketer. Aided by his wife, he is doing 
good work in the cause to which he has devoted his 
energies and time. I cannot pass Croydon by without 
expressing my admiration for the Rev. J. Page Hopps. 
There is a man with a true enthusiasm for humanity. 
Brainy and absolutely fearless, he has fought against 
the war as few have, chiefly through the pages of his 
admirable little paper The Coming Day, With all 
the bravery and tenacity of that bull-dog to which 

( 303 ) 



304 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

John Bull so delights to liken himself, he was for 
carrying out the meeting on the 19th of March at all 
risks, but fortunately he was overruled by his friends. 

On the loth of May there was a private meeting 
at Mr. J. R. MacDonald's, 3, Lincoln's Inn Fields, 
composed largely of Labour representatives. Mr. 
and Mrs. Macdonald are strenuous Labour 
workers. We sat down to the most delightful tea 
with about Half-a-dozen leading working men. Later 
about fifty more people came in, men and women, and 
I had the pleasure of meeting, among others, that 
splendid Russian Prince Kropotkin and his wife, Mr. 
Herbert Burrows, Mr. and Mrs. H. M. Hyndman, Mr. 
and Mrs. Cobden Sanderson, Walter Crane, and 
many others. One felt in the presence of realities. 
Now that Great Britain has lost her rural population, 
such men and women are her strength. I met Kropot- 
kin again at Limpsfield, when he came to call with his 
daughter, who, being the only "pro-Boer" in her 
school, had to do a great deal of fighting, which she 
did, it is said, with telling effect, inheriting to a large 
extent her father's remarkable abilities. 

On the 1 1 th of May there was a meeting of the 
Homsey Women's Liberal Association^ with Miss 
Balgamie in the chair. It was got up by Mrs. C. C. 
Reed, and was held at Mr. and Mrs. Marpole's house, 
Finsbury Park, Stroud Greea The meeting was 
semi-private, and a good many war people were asked 
A month back none of these meetings could have been 
held : they would have been mobbed to a certainty. 
Fear was ei^)ecially felt about this meeting, but it went 
off without a mishap. Reporters from two papers 
were present. The Mercury and Observer of the 19th 
had on the whole a very fair and full report After 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 305 

I had spoken, questions were invited I did not speak 
long, being anxious to let the " enemy " open all their 
guns on me. In consequence I was simply bombarded 
for over an hour, but perfect order prevailed. One of 
the first questions was put by Dr. Bell, a fine white- 
haired man of about 60. He was a Uttle excited as 
he asked me whether I was " a loyal Englishman or 
not" My reply was the obvious one that it depended 
on the definition of " loyalty " ; if ** loyalty " was admi- 
ration of Mr. Chamberlain and support of his South 
African policy, then, I said, I was the most disloyal 
man in England ; but if by " loyalty " was meant an 
affection and reverence for the aged Queen, and a 
firm adherence to what I considered best for the Em- 
pire and humanity, then I was as loyal as anyone. I 
pointed out how objectionable it was to call people 
disloyal because they did not agree with a given 
policy. By the end of the meeting, I think I may say 
that the doctor and I were on very good terms. The 
net result of letting the " enemy " bombard me with 
questions, and of answering them fully and courteously 
was most successful Half the Jingoes were con- 
verted, and voted for the resolution condemning the 
war, while there were only seven who actually voted 
against it. One of those not yet quite converted came 
to Mrs. Reed after the meeting, and said : " Look here, 
Mrs. Reed, I am not converted yet ; but if that man 
wants to speak on any platform in London, 77/ bring 
twenty men to protect him." This offer was similar 
to that made to me by a young doctor whom I met at 
Dr. Bridges'. Of this I am certain : if I Had liked to 
enrol a corps to figAi, I could have had enough to 
smash up any Imperialist mob in any hall, or to have 
produced such a fight as would have necessitated the 

u 



3o6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

reading of the Riot Act. But I did not care to do 
this. I determined to conduct my meetings tempe- 
rately, and treat my opponents courteously. And 
from this I never swerved. 

I give a few paragraphs from one of the local 
papers: — 

" Through Mrs. C. C. Reed I have had the good 
fortune to hear Mr. Cronwright Schreiner. Mrs. 
Reed organised a semi-private meeting at Finsbury 
Park, and here the man who was mobbed at Scar- 
borough was given a respectful hearing. Not be- 
cause the people he spoke to were all ' pro-Boers ' ; 
but because everybody being a gfuest in a private house 
was bound to behave with decency and self-respect" 

** Mr. Schreiner didn't choose to make a long speech, 
so that doubtful and difficult points could be slurred 
over or evaded. By his own wish he devoted prac- 
tically all the time to answering questions. He 
treated his opponents with the utmost courtesy, hold- 
ing that they were quite honest in their view and well- 
meaning, but misguided, mainly through the men- 
dacity of Rhodes's pressmen. 

"He told a picturesque story of Kruger to show 
that the old man has no illusions about England's 
might A burgher, convinced during the negotia- 
tions that England meant fighting, went to the Presi* 
dent and urged him to fight straightway. * Are you 
ready to fight ? * asked the President ; * got your 
horse and rifle and biltong?* 'Yes,' said the bur- 
gher. * Can you fight for a month ? * ' Yes.* ' Can 
you fight for three months ? ' ' Y-e-e-c-s,' said the 
burgher, though more doubtfully. * Can you fight for 
six months ? ' ' That was rather a long time,' the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 307 

burgher urged * Go home,* said Krugcr ; ' England 
will fight for six years/ 

" Asked to explain the attitude of our ministers of 
the Gospel, Mr. Schreiner said that the churches in 
South AJfrica had divided on race lines " — ^as churches 
had always done. If the opinions of ministers of re- 
ligion had a special value, why not weigh in the 
opinions of those of the Dutch Reformed Church? 
No ; that wouldn't do." 

On the 1 6th May I addressed the Women's Liberal 
Conference, which was then in session in London, 
in St. Martin's Hall, Trafalgar Square. Mrs. James 
Bryce was in the chair, and there was a large assembly, 
which was practically unanimous against the war. 
After I had spoken, numerous questions were asked, 
as usual. I caused a little flutter by pointing out that 
England could not do much for South Africa with her 
present so-called Liberal party, dwelling on the fact 
that Lord Rosebery, Sir Edward Grey, Sir Henry 
Fowler, Mr. Herbert Gladstone, and others had gone 
over to the Tory policy of Imperialism ; and that be- 
fore South Africa could be helped they would have to 
help themselves. Of a truth, the Liberal party as 
once existii^ is dead : a new Liberal party with more 
Socialistic aims will have to arise : the old divisions 
are effete. Imperialism will have to be fought, Rose- 
bery is as dangerous as Chamberlain — ^more so, in fact 

Among people I frequently met was Mr. P. A. Mol- 
teno, the second son of the late Sir John Molteno, 
first Prime Minister of the Cape Colony, and son-in- 
law to Sir Donald Currie. His " Life " of his father 
was just out It would have been well if the Cape 

u a 



3o8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

Colony had had its first premier during the recent 
stormy times. We needed a man with an enthu- 
siasm for self-government, and one who would stand 
up to Chamberlain and Milner, and fight 

I also dined, at the invitation of the Rev. Mr. Baum- 
garten, whom I had seen in Johannesburg, with a 
number of clergy at Stepney. Mr. Baumgarten was 
the only one who knew anything worth mentioning 
about the South African question, and the only one, 
as far as I could see, who tried to look at it somewhat 
as Jesus would have done. A Jingo clergyman is 
indeed a God-forsaken creature. I also attended a 
dinner at the New Reform Club to Mr. Hobsoa All 
were there to discuss South African affairs. 

I also met Professor Bickerton, who was managing 
an " Associated Home " in New Zealand. I met Mr. 
Bickerton at Limpsfield, where he interested us all 
greatly. He is a great enthusiast in social matters, 
with a very fascinating power of descriptioa Six 
families live in this "Associated Home," which is 
built of stout paper over a wooden framework, the 
outside being tarred and sanded The structure is 
very cheap, and, judging by photographs, beautiful 
and perfectly satisfactory in all respects. The cost of 
living is reduced 50 per cent ** You must, however," 
said Mr. Bickerton, " dispense with the luxury of being 
disagreeable." To show how excellent "anarchy" 
may be, he told us of a " Ragamuffin Club " they had 
foimded for boys and girls. It had no officers and 
no rules ; all had simply to promise to strive for social 
unity. It answered admirably ; the collective force of 
the members was restraining influence enough to hold 
all in order. It ran for three years, and had 600 mem- 
bers. Then fashionable people began to join it ; the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 309 

next thing was the drawing up of a code of rules, and 
the appointment of officers — the result being, said 
Mr. Bickerton with a smile, that within six months 
the club was defunct! 



XXIV. 

EDINBURGH, THE i8TH OF MAY. 

Part L 
Inside the Albion Hall. 

There was one place particularly at which, in con- 
sequence of the personal violence done to me there, 
I had set my heart on carrying through a meeting. 
After our Free Speech conference on the 22nd of 
March in the Westminster Palace Hotel, our friends 
had been organising in the various centres, until 
finally it was arranged that I should start on another 
tour of the Midlands and the North. All meetings 
were to be ticket meetings, and I specified that I was 
to have an assurance that at each place I went to the 
meeting should be carried through. The tour was to 
embrace Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Huddersfield, Roch- 
dale, Leicester, Sheffield, and Leeds. We were ad- 
vised that everywhere feeling was less violent, and 
that our forces were thoroughly oi^^anised in each 
centre. Unfortunately it happened that just before 
the tour (I was to begin at Edinburgh on the i8th of 
May) it began to be whispered that Mafeking had 
been relieved It was known that throughout the 
country great preparations had been made to cele- 
brate this relief, and it was certain that for a few days 
the country would be in an uproar which would make 
meetings impossible. (Yet no one, I think, antici- 
pated the orgies of debauchery and licentiousness 
which characterised the celebration of the relief, 

( 310 ) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 311 

especially in Londoa A new word was added to the 
language : a drunken rowdy was said to be " maf&ck- 
ing." How differently the self-contained Boers took 
their victories ; like the English of the old days they 
were neither elated by success nor depressed by de- 
feat.) So it was definitely decided that, if news of the 
relief should come, I should at once cancel all engage- 
ments and abandon the tour, which would then be ar- 
ranged for later. 

I may here remark that there is one fact which more 
than any other strikes one painfully in the modem 
attitude of the EngUsh and Scotch peoples. The 
wildest outbursts of brutality and ruffianism have 
taken place, not when the news of some great and 
terrible national defeat has reached them — such as the 
defeats of Magersfontein, Stormberg, Spion Kop, 
Colenso, Modder River, etc., when they might have 
been pardoned as the expression of bitter pain and 
despair. The painful fact is that it has been exactly 
when the news of a victory has reached the English 
people that all self-respect has been thrown aside, 
and all that is lowest and most brutal has burst forth 
unrestrained ; houses have been destroyed, persons 
have been assaulted and almost murdered, freedom of 
speech has become extinct, and wild and loathsome 
orgies have filled the streets. In truth, there is some- 
thing cowardly and degenerate almost beyond con- 
ception in these outbursts of brutality and fury follow- 
ing invariably on news of victory. This is the reverse 
of all one has been taught from one's childhood to 
regard as English. 

I left London on the morning of the 18th, and 
arrived, for the second time, in Edinburgh that after- 
nooa The time of my arrival and the house in which 



312 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

I was to stay were kept profoundly secret I was met 
at the station by Mr. J. H. Smith, the secretary of 
the meeting, Mr. W. D. McGregor, and Mr. Thomas 
Hardie, and was at once driven by Mr. Smith to the 
residence of his mother, 42, Raebum Place, where I 
was to stay during my visit. 

The meeting, which was to be in the Albion Hall, 
Hamilton Place, was well organised. It had been got 
together in one week solely by the private' distribu- 
tion of tickets. No tickets were disposed of to the 
public by any public agency. In no other way could 
the breaking up of the meeting have been prevented. 
In addition, about one hundred stewards* tickets were 
given to known and perfectly safe men, who were 
properly organised, and posted in the hall to quell 
any disturbance. Arrangements were also made with 
the police for a strong force. The police did in fact 
do their duty very much better than on the previous 
occasion. They had men in the hall, the door was 
well guarded, and there was a reserve force of about 
seventy men in the station just across the street To 
prevent tickets being forged a very clever plan was 
resorted to. A thumb imprint was placed upon every 
ticket, which was further countersigned (initialled) 
by Mr. Smith. This made forgery almost impossible, 
as the imprints of no two human thumbs are abso- 
lutely identical But these precautions were an 
eloquent tribute to the blackguardism of the Im- 
perialists. As a matter of fact, though foiled as to 
forgery, some impostors tried to get in under various 
specious pretexts, presenting what purported to be 
written requests from Committee members; while 
those of the Imperialists who had obtained tickets 
were very insistent on being allowed to take in big 



( .'-^i 



i^*- r, 
^•1-il^^ 



UB^^^^ 



*«-'^?A,'^D? 



\ 



.'■lV'-^-J* 



vOO^ 



ftoK*! 






THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 313 



sticks. But they were foiled at every point I give 
a copy of this historic ticket 1 — 



EE-WAK COHHITTEE. 




No public announcement of the meeting was made 
until the day before it was to be held. The announce- 
ment called forth the following highly suggestive 
paragraph from the Evening DesffUch, the violent 
Jingo evening off -shoot of the Scotsman: — 

"CRONWRIGHT SCHREINER IN 
EDINBURGH. 
" In connection with Mr. Cronwright Schreiner's 
meeting at S.15 in Albion Hall, Stodcbridge, this 
evening, it is understood that the police authorities 
have taken the 'ordinary precautions' to maintain 
order there, having no information that the meeting 
is to be in any way exceptional Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner, we believe, arrived in Edinbu^h to-day, 
but the greatest precautions are being taken to keep 
his exact whereabouts secret" 



314 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECIL 

After a hurried meal we went down to the hall, 
as it was considered wise to be there early, in view of 
the crowd that was sure to gather. It was still quite 
light when Mrs. Smith, her daughter, Miss Mary 
Smith, her son, J. H. Smith, several others, and myself 
walked down to the halL A considerable number 
of people had already assembled ; but we walked in 
in twos and threes some distance apart, and I entered 
unrecognised The door was strongly guarded by 
the police, who formed and kept open a passage 
through the crowd so that people might enter with- 
out being hustled or worse. It is strange to reflect 
how often I have quietly walked through mobs eagerly 
looking for me and thirsting for my scalp. They 
probably looked, as I have said, for the typical " Boer " 
as he presents himself to their diseased imagination — 
a badly-dressed, hulking creature, with a slouch hat 
and a long, imtrimmed beard. I passed unrecognised 
through them quietly and with apparent unconcern. 
But I thought some strange things about these poor 
creatures as I moved among them 

When we walked on to the platform at the ap- 
pointed hour, it was clear we should carry our meet- 
ing this time ; and I think everybody felt a glow of 
pride in having succeeded in the face of such over- 
whelming obstacles. There were about 450 people 
present, including a few brave women who sat in the 
gallery. Mr. Alexander Muir, President of the Edin- 
burgh Trades Council, was in the chair, and among 
those present with him on the platform were Mr. J. 
K Smith, Mr. John Davidson, member of the 
Edinburgh School Board, and Mr. J. Keir Hardie. 
Our greeting was, as may be expected, most hearty. 
As at Battersea, and wherever else the people of 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 315 

Great Britain kept sane» the audience was almost 
wholly of the better class of Labour people. 

I had a most enthusiastic reception ; the upholders of 
Britain's honour and lovers of free speech rising en 
masse, and cheering and waving hats and handker- 
chiefs. I give the opening paragraphs of the Evening 
News report of my speech: — 

" The Shame of One's Own People. 

" Mr. Schreiner, who spoke easily and fluently, at 
the outset said that his last appearance in Edinburgh 
was accompanied by incidents he as a Britisher did 
not like to recall One did not like to dwell upon the 
shame of one's own people. He might add, for the 
information of his friends, that he suffered no per- 
manent inconvenience by the little trouble to which 
he was subjected. The fact was he had been captain 
of certain football clubs for years, and the scrimmage 
in which he was rather an unwilling participant re- 
minded him a little of the vigour displayed on the 
football field. (Applause.) He appreciated broadly, 
both here and in Battersea, Manchester, and elsewhere, 
where, since those rowdy times, successful meetii^s 
had taken place, what labour had done to uphold one 
of the most cherished rights of the people. (Ap- 
plause.) One of the resolutions which would be put 
before them said that this war was unjustifiable, and 
had been forced upon the Republics. (Cheers, and 
cries of ' No.') He, as a British South African, who 
was thoroughly conversant with the conditions of life 
in South Africa, and had studied them carefully from 
the Uteraiy standpoint and on the spot, said that these 
two assertions were emphatically true. It was un- 
justifiable. This nation went to war saying it wanted 



3i6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

the franchise for the aliens in the Transvaal (A 
voice: * Quite right') Quite right — if the aliens 
wanted the franchise ; quite right — ^if they had the 
right of interference in the internal affairs of another 
country. They went to war to get rights for aliens in 
another country ; putting it in another way, they went 
to war to disfranchise their own subjects and make 
them subjects of a hostile State." (Cheers.) 

I concluded by saying that the policy to regain as 
far as possible the strained and lost affections of the 
British subjects of the Cape Colony was to maintain 
the internal independence of the Republics; and 
that if Great Britain were foolish enough to run her- 
self full tilt against the young South African people, 
that people would grow up rightly holding her in 
hatred instead of loving her. 

During my speech two Imperialists under the in- 
fluence of liquor were quietly put out, and four or five 
men left of their own accord to escape a similar fate, 
seeing that all chance of a row was impossible. 

After questions had been answered, Mr. J. H. 
Smith moved a resolution in three terms: the first 
regarding this unjustifiable war as having been forced 
on the South African Republics ; the second propos- 
ing immediate negotiations for peace, and the recog- 
nition of the independence of the Republics ; and the 
third condemning the policy of Mr. Joseph Cham- 
berlain, Sir Alfred Milner, and Mr. Cecil Rhodes, and 
calling for their removal from office. 

Mr. John Davidson seconded 

Mr. A. McOwen proposed, and Mr. Breck seconded, 
an amendment that it was premature to adopt any 
such resolution until Pretoria was takea 

The resolution was carried amidst great cheers, 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 317 

with only twelve dissentients, after which Mr. Keir 
Hardie spoke for a short while ; and the meeting was 
over. 

A good deal of cheering and shouting came from 
the crowd outside during the proceedings within the 
hall. They caused no appreciable inconvenience, but 
it was clear that a large crowd had gathered, and that 
there would be trouble when the meeting dispersed. 
When the hall was nearly emptied, our party and the 
platform people and about twenty stewards remain- 
ing, it was debated whether we should go out at once 
and risk it, or turn the lights out, have a quiet smoke, 
and let the mob disperse. I took no part in this 
httle discussion. It was decided to risk it ; and so, 
some of the stewards tucking up the collars of their 
coats in view of what might be coming, out we went 
As soon as I appeared outside the door in the bright 
lamplight, I noticed a man, who had clearly been 
waiting to identify me, give the signal to the crowd. 
At once the mob, now some three thousand strong, 
surged forward They overran the police, and closed 
up the passage the police had been keeping open. 
The stewards closed around me, and at once a scene 
of wild excitement ensued, the mob whirling rotmd 
me in its stupid madness and cowardice. 

I have mentioned (in Chapter VIII) that, when 
forced up the stairway at the Queen Street Hall, I 
found a lady there, who, on hearing my name, shook 
me cordially by the hand, after which the crowd made 
a way out for her. Now, again^ just before I went out 
of the hall, the same lady — a small, slight woman — 
accosted me, claimed acquaintance, and heartily shook 
my hand, explaining where we had " met before ! " 



3i8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

I then learnt her name for the first time. It was Mrs. 
Harrison, and I am glad to know it, that I may cherish 
the name of a brave woman. 

Now, as the mob surged aromid me outside, this 
woman took one of my arms and Mrs. Smith took 
the other. They at least were determined that the 
guest should come to no harm if they could help it ; 
they were there to defend Scotland's honour. It was 
fine of them. I think if I had had another arm Miss 
Smith would have seized hold of that to help me ; 
and I am confident the mob would have had to maul 
those splendid Scotswomen if they had succeeded in 
getting at me. Fortunately, I was not generally 
known to the enemy, and we were protected by a 
bodyguard of determined stewards, with Mr. Smith 
towering among them close to me. But the m61ee 
got hotter and hotter, and on one occasion I felt my- 
self seized by two or three hands by the neck. With- 
out turning or showing any knowledge of the fact, I 
said quietly to the man next to me, ''I am held by 
the collar by several hands; be ready if anything 
further occurs." But presently, as I walked steadily 
on, I was released. I can only surmise that I had been 
thus held by some of the stewards to prevent them- 
selves losing touch of me. Thus we walked along 
as unconcernedly as possible till we turned the comer 
at Hamilton Place, when we walked up the street 
The crowd became momentarily more excited and 
angry ; there were rushes in different directions, but 
around us they became more rough, and it began to 
k>ok serious. At this juncture Mr. Smith said to me, 
"Let us turn back and walk right through them." 
This we did at once. The ruse was successful ; the 
mad creatures continued to run in the opposite direc- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 319 

tion, brushing us and bumping us as they ran past, 
with brutal faces, in search of me. Then the mob 
seemed to realise that they had lost me ; the last I 
saw, as I was guarded down Hamilton Place again, 
was a huge rush of the crowd to some given centre 
away from me. Then I was put into a narrow lane, 
and told to go through there and out at the other end 
while my friends held the passage. Mrs. Harrison 
was so eager for me to escape as we turned into 
Hamilton Place, and so eager to hurry me on, that I 
had to caution her pleasantly to keep quiet or she'd 
give me away ! I walked out at the other end of the 
lane into a street, whose name I do not know, in the 
company of Mrs. Harrison and two strange men — one 
a middle-aged stoutish man, whose name I do not 
know to this day, the other a sturdy young working- 
man, named Pearsoa The street was full of people 
rushing about in all directions, like a tribe of ants that 
have been disturbed. In all directions they were 
crying, " Where is he ? " One yotmg man with a big 
stick and a flushed countenance actually rushed right 
up against me, peered in my face, and asked breath- 
lessly, "Where is he?" I just laughed at him, and 
he rushed on into the crowd People were standing in 
the doorways watching the stupid cowardly creatures 
rushing madly about to assault one man ; demented 
beings looking for a man they did not know even 
when they saw him. We three walked quietly on 
right out of the mob until we reached the tramway, 
where Mr& Harrison and the older gentleman said 
good-bye and got into the tram, while Mr. Pearson 
escorted me through quiet streets to 42, Raebum 
Places where my friends, who had already arrived, 
were overjoyed to see me safe and sound. Mr. 



320 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Pearson had lost his hat, and got a whack on the side 
of the head, but he was none the worse for it, and took 
it all in a sturdy, good-natured way that was delight- 
ful to witness. 

My escape from this mob, some thousands strong, 
which had marked and pursued me, may, I think, be 
considered remarkable. It was to some extent due to 
the people I was with, but I think it was largely due 
to the brainlessness of the mob. The mass mind, in 
such a condition, is at an extraordinarily low level Its 
brutality and cowardice are proverbial ; but I think 
it is not so well-recognised how extraordinarily devoid 
of brain capacity a mob generally i& 

Some time after I was staying (as I shall relate) 
with Mr. Keir Hardie at Old Cumnock. He was tell- 
ing me about the Covenanters and their persecution. 
There was one of them named, I think, Beadon, a very 
holy man, whose Christian name was Sandy. Claver- 
house's soldiers were always trying to get him and kill 
him, but his cool-headedness, his bravery, and his 
knowledge of the country invariably enabled him to 
escape. But at last it seemed his course was run. 
Sandy was surrounded by the murderous soldiers on 
a little kopje on a fine day, and escape was appar- 
ently impossible ; his capttu'e seemed certain. Then 
Sandy knelt down and prayed to the Lord to " wrap 
the tail o* his coat round Sandy." And lo, a mist 
settled down on the kopje, and enveloped and hid 
Sandy, cirid enabled him to escape. Mr. Keir Hardie 
smiled when I said that my escape from that mob was 
perhaps explicable on the ground that " the Lord had 
wrapped the tail o* his coat round me*' 

It was fortimate that it was not known where I was 
staying. So eager were the mob to get me that the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 321 

doors of the chief hotels were watched by half-dozens 
of young men who, till late into the night, carefully 
scrutinised every person that went in. A couple even 
had the impudence to ring at 42, Raebum Place, and 
ask if I were there — a second time even as late as mid* 
night the next evening, after I had gone to bed. 

After the crowd had lost me, riotous proceedii^^ 
took place. I give the following account from the 
Evening News: — 

''Mr. Schreiner and his protectors having disap- 
peared, the large crowd turned round in search of 
another victim. They had not long to wait A cry of 
'pro-Boer!' was heard from one of the by-streets 
near Hantilton Place, and there was an immediate 
rally. Before long the two victims were in a pitiable 
condition, as their clothes soon bore traces of die con- 
tents of many ashbuckets which were thrown over 
them. Their hats were wanting, and all sorts of 
missiles were literally poured upon them. No police 
were to be seen, and the crowd were at full liberty to 
do as they liked with the unfortunates. Who the 
victims were was not known, but they were generally 
spoken of as being the ' Stop the War Committee.' 
At first they walked with heads erect, and a look of 
proud disdain, but the pace set by the crowd got too 
hot for them, and they were not long in recognising 
that it was better to dodge as many of the buckets 
thrown at them as possible. Only once was any re- 
sistance offered This was after the two pro-Boers 
had been separated and one — a mere lad — ^pluckily 
took his stand against a lamp-post and bade defiance 
to the crowd The heavy stick which he carried 
looked too threatening for anybody to accept his in- 
vitation to ' come on.' He thus diverted the attention 



322 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

of the crowd whoBy to himself, and his comrade in 
misfortune was enabled to make good his escape. 
Followed by a howling crowd, which every minute 
grew in size, he made his way by Royal Circus, Great 
King Street, and Hanover Street to Princes Street 
When nearing Princes Street he made a dash for a 
car which was proceeding west, and then followed an 
extraordinary scene. There were loud cries of ' Stop 
him I * but he gained his object ; and the crowd, un- 
willing to lose sight of their victim, ran after the car, 
which was being driven at a rapid pace. The unusual 
sight of some 300 persons running after a car natu- 
rally occasioned astonishment in Princes Street, and 
a number of pedestrians joined in the pursuit, under 
the belief that they were helping to arrest another 
escaped convict Not until the West End was reached 
was the car stopped by the crowd, and the mob would 
probably have succeeded in getting their victim out 
of the car but for the efforts of Superintendent Lamb, 
of the Criminal Investigation Department The car 
was again put into motion towards Haymarket, but the 
yelling crowd again followed. Mr. Lamb succeeded 
in capturing one of the ringleaders in the crowd, who, 
being more daring than the rest, attempted to board 
the car. Mr. Lamb was at once surrounded, and the 
release of the young man demanded. It was evident 
from the jeers that were thrown at him that the Super- 
intendent of Police was mistaken for a pro-Boer. A 
young midshipman was in particular very indignant 
at Mr. Lamb for his actioa ' For shame I ' he cried 
in a high English accent, ' For shame, you rabid pro- 
Boer.' In spite of the crowd, Mr. Lamb took his 
prisoner to the foot of Lothian Road, but there he, 
and a small body of police^ were hopelessly sur- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 323 

rounded For fully a quarter of an hour, from eleven 
o'dock till a quarter-past, Mr. Lamb was made the 
object of taunting remarks. He was advised to hoist 
the white flag, and surrender, but relief at length came 
— and with it the news of the relief of Maf eking ; and 
the crowd then broke up into numerous bands, who 
paraded the streets till a late hour, shouting patriotic 
songs and cheering loudly." 

Mr. Keir Hardie, who was subsequently recognised, 
was htmted through the streets^ and escaped with dif« 
ficulty on to a tram where he was pursued by some 
hundreds of howling Imperialists. He was, however, 
rescued there by the policei and got back to his 
hotel by a three-mile tramp in a most roundabout 
way. 

The Imperialist papers wrote of me with their usual 
scurrility and mendacity. Some remarks in the 
Glasgow Herald called forth the following letter 
from Mr. Smith, which, as it relates to a foul charge, 
I trust I may be excused for inserting : — 

" MR. CRONWRIGHT SCHREINER 
IN EDINBURGH. 

" I, Keith Terrace, 

" Blackball, Mid Lothian. 

••May 20th, 1 900. 
" Sir, 

" You will, perhaps, allow me to correct the im- 
pression conveyed to your readers in Saturda/s issue 
regarding Mr. Cronwright Schreiner's demeanour 
when he was mobbed in Edinburgh on Friday. 
As your reporter (though by some mysterious 
process of reasoning) kindly attributes Mr. Cron- 
wright Schreiner's escape from the mob to my 

xa 



324 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

* dexterity/ my evidence may be considered of some 
value. 

" It was stated that Mr. Schreiner was * almost 
hidden by a bodyguard of ladies/ As a matter of 
fact, there were only three — ^two of them relations of 
my own, who naturally accompanied me — the other a 
lady who had joined our body for protectioa There 
is an innuendo contained in that extract from the 
report which is emphasised by another statement that 
Mr. Schreiner was 'looking very nervous.' Having 
been with him all the time he was in danger from the 
mob, I beg most emphatically to state that through- 
out he was quite cool and collected, and showed no 
signs of nervousness whatever. Indeed, when I wished 
him to move quickly ahead while the stewards held 
back the howling ruiSians in a narrow lane into which 
we had suddenly tmned off, he refused absolutely. 
He said, 'Don't run,' and he wouldn't Of course, 
being an entire stranger to the maze of Stockbridge 
streets and lanes, and being conveyed by stewards 
who now and again gave contradictory instructions, 
and pulled him hither and thither, Mr. Schreiner must 
have felt rather bewildered occasionally ; but nervous 
he never was, nor appeared to be. 

" The mere fact that Mr. Schreiner — without the 
slightest pressure and without any satisfactory guar- 
antee of safe-conduct — ^returned to Edinburgh after 
the dreadful treatment he had received from the 
cowardly mob, proves him to be a man of the highest 
courage, moral and physical How many of our public 
men would, after such experience, continue the work 
they had set before them ? Mr. Cronwright Schreiner 
is a man every Briton ought to be proud of. 

" I notioe what is probably a typographical error in 



• THE I'^'^, ' .RT 

PUBLIC LlBKABl 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 3^5 

your report. The audience numbered not 200, but at 
least 400. 

" I am, etc, 

" J. H. Smith." 

I shall ever look back to this visit to Edinburgh 
with the keenest pleasure. I had heard much of Scottish 
hospitality. I saw it exemplified to the fullest extent 
by the friends whose guest I wasw They incurred a 
considerable risk in having me in their house ; for, 
had it become known that I was there, there can be no 
doubt, I think, that the house would have been 
wrecked. I look forward some day to another visit 
to Great Britain — not because as a whole I ever wish 
to see it again : its associations are too painful and 
shameful to allow of that ; but that I may meet the 
many noble and generous individuals I had the 
pleasure of knowing, among ihem the kindly and 
staunch dwellers in 42, Raebum Place. 

On Sunday morning early, Mr. Smith and I walked 
down to the railway station, passing the Balmoral 
Hotel and the Queen Street Hall on the way. It was 
strange to walk through the quiet deserted streets 
where such shameful acts had been done. I was soon 
on the train on my way to Aberdeen, where I was due 
to speak that night. 



CHAPTER XXV. 

ABERDEEN, 20TH OF MAY, 

Part I 
Before the Meeting. 

The run to Aberdeen is pretty in parts, especially 
where the railway skirts the coast There are small 
krantzes, heather here and there, and small stretches 
which of all I saw in Great Britain most reminded me 
of veld — ^yet in how shadowy a way! 

The Aberdeen meeting had been arranged through 
the London " Stop the War " Committee, and I had 
been furnished with the address of Mr. T. Kennedy 
as 24, Castle Street Mr. J. H. Smith had written to 
that address from Edinburgh, telling him when I 
should arrive Mr. Kennedy was, I found subse- 
quently. Secretary of the Social Democratic Federa- 
tion, which in other parts of the Kingdom had done 
such excellent work for Free Speech and in dentmcia- 
tion of the war. On arrival at Aberdeen, I took a cab 
to 24, Castle Street, but Mr. Kennedy was unknown 
there ; it was a small tobacconist's shop, I think. The 
man said a letter had come there for Mr. Kennedy the 
day before, which he had refused to take as it was 
obviously misdirected It transpired later in the day 
that the address should have been 42, Castle Street, 
which is, I Believe, the address of the Social Demo- 
cratic Federation. Anyhow, I did not know this at 
the time and had no means of ascertaining it It was 
rather an awkward predicament ; for I could not go 

( 326 ) 



PUBLIC LIBRAR * 



l.»M»» 



TIX"^ 






THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 327 

to an hotel under my own name» and of course, I could 
give no other. Neither did I know how to get into 
touch with the people who were holding the meeting. 
Turning the situation over in my mind, I remembered 
that the Rev. Harold Rylett, Secretary of the Stop the 
War Committee, London, had mentioned the name of 
the Rev. Alexander Webster, Unitarian Minister, as 
one sure to be in sympathy with the movement I 
had nothing to do but try to find where Mr. Webster 
lived. I took this step with great reluctance, fearing 
if it became known that he was in close relationship 
with me that he' and his household would be made 
the object of the mob's attack. But I thought he 
would be able to put me into touch with those who had 
(as arranged in London) made provision for my ac- 
commodation, it being recognised that I could not go 
to hotels. So I instructed the cabby to drive to Mr. 
Webster's, but the cabman did not know where he 
lived, nor could he find out by inquiring from various 
people. At last it struck him to drive to a police 
office and see a director)'. Thus he found the address, 
and eventually landed me at Concord House, 41, Font- 
hill Terrace. The cabby was a fine type of Scots- 
man : it would have been interesting to have heard 
him tell of his " fare " next morning, aiter the greatest 
riot ever known in Aberdeen. 

The Websters were all away at morning service, 
except a young son whom I chatted with over 
the fire, and who showed me a local Imperiahst 
paper of the day before with a long and 
very scurrilous article of a column and a-half 
on me, and flaming accounts of how the relief of 
Mafeking had been celebrated in Aberdeen the last 
two nighta It will be remembered that when I set 



328 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

out from London on the i8th, the understanding was 
that the tour should be abandoned if news of the relief 
of Mafeking should come. This news had reached 
Edinburgh late on Friday evening, as already related, 
and I had now come on to Aberdeen to suggest that 
the meeting there should be cancelled ; but with the 
resolve — if the promoters thought otherwise — ^to fulfil 
my part of the engagement and see it through. 

When Mr. and Mrs. Webster came in they asked me 
to stay with them, and, in the belief that the pro- 
moters of the meeting would give it up, I consented. 
I put the position plainly to Mr. Webster — ^a quiet, 
brave, determined man. He could not see eye to eye 
with me at first, but eventually was convinced of the 
unwisdom of holding the meeting. He, however, had 
no control in the matter, which I found was abso- 
lutely in the hands of the Social Democratic Federa- 
tion ; but I felt it well to convince him of the danger 
to the town. I also learnt to my great siuprise that, 
notwithstanding my stipulation at headquarters that 
admission to the meeting should be strictly by ticket, 
this meeting was to be unreservedly open to the 
pubhc. 

Mr. Kennedy, who had been ransacking the town 
to find out whether I had arrived and where I was, 
going even to all the chief hotels, happened to live not 
far away. At my request, Mr. Webster sent out, 
asking Mr. Kennedy to come up to see me, as he did 
soon after lunch. I had an earnest talk with Mr. 
Kennedy, but he did not think I was right in my prog- 
nostications, and further said he had no power to 
abandon the meeting on his own initiative. Deter- 
mined, however, to leave no stone tmtumed to prevent 
the great riot I knew ^^'as coming, I asked him to call 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 329 

the Committee together that I might lay my views 
before them. 

During the afternoon I learnt that the usual Sunday 
afternoon Social Democratic Federation open-air 
meeting had, for the first time, been broken up by the 
mob. The Social Democratic Federation was holding 
an anti-war meeting at the foot of South Market 
Street Mr. James Hardie, who was to take the chair 
in the evening, was speaking when, after much inter- 
ruption and great noise, the mob rushed the meeting, 
and but for the interference of policemen would have 
swept Mr. Hardie into the dock. They Broke it up, 
and then pursued the speakers and their comrades up 
Market Street to Adelphi Court, while others of the 
mob charged up the lane. " The scene at this time," 
says the Evening Express (Tory), " would have bafSed 
the descriptive abilities of even a veteran war corre- 
spondent." As Mr. James Hardie and the others 
emerged into Union Street, "had there not been a 
few constables by this time upon the scene," says the 
same paper, "there is no knowing what the results 
would have beea" The mob made a dead set at Mr. 
Hardie, whom the police had difficulty in protecting 
from personal violence, and continued to grow in size 
until when Lady Walk was reached the band of police 
had hard work in keeping it back. Eventually the 
men the mob were most bent on catching found a safe 
retreat in the police office, Lady Walk, while others 
betook themselves to the Social Democratic Federa- 
tion Club Room in Castle Street This room is in 
a large square, and here an excited crowd gathered 
discussing the situation. 

The Committee of the Social Democratic Federa- 
tion was called together by Mr. Kennedy, and he and 



3J0 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

I went down to the Club Room to meet it At 
4.45 p.m., as we approached the Club Room, the large 
crowd that had gathered in consequence of the riot 
at the meeting at the Docks was standing in the 
square. As we entered the building, the little chil- 
dren booed us and called us "pro-Boers." (These 
little Scotch children were the only persons who pro- 
nounced " Boer " almost correctly, making it rhyme 
with the Irishman's *'shure.") Such scenes are in- 
expressibly sad. A similar one, it will be remembered, 
occurred at Dundee, as Mr. Walsh and I left his 
house to drive to the railway station the morning after 
the abandoned meeting there. 

About twenty or thirty were present, including 
some ladies. The Chairman explained why they had 
been called together, and asked me to lay my views 
before them. I told them briefly it was impossible to 
hold a successful meeting immediately after the relief 
of Mafeking, and that if they persisted they would 
have such a night as they had never seen in Aber- 
deen ; and I advised them to abandon the meeting. 
In reply it was pointed out to me that a riot was im- 
possible, as Aberdeen was the most advanced and 
orderly town in Scotland, and a most God-fearing 
place, which respected the Sabbath ; also that all the 
bars were closed on the Sabbath. To all of which I 
replied that I knew what would happen; and, going 
into detail, prophesied with almost perfect accuracy 
what actually did happen, and told them they'd be a 
good deal wiser in a few hours. But without a dis- 
sentient vote they decided to go on with the meeting, 
giving me three cheers ; and we were in for it They 
are a fine body of men, the Social Democratic Feder- 
ation of Aberdeen — ^young, enthusiastic, and brave. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 33 1 

It was well known to the police and to the public 
that people had been thoroughly organised and 
equipped to break up the meeting, and give me a 
" warm " reception, chief among these organised ruf- 
fians being the students and the engineers. Chief 
Constable Wyness had taken such precautions as he 
considered necessary ; but, as will be seen hereafter, 
he quite under-estimated the forces he would have to 
cope with. 

However, let me begin at the beginning. 

Part II. 
The Meeting. 

On leaving the Social Democratic Federation Club 
Room, I walked quietly up to the Trades Hall, where 
the meeting was to be held. I wished to get in early 
as I knew it would be impossible for me to do so later. 
Mr. Webster was to have a service there at 6 o'clock ; 
but I arrived there before 6, and the hall was closed. 
I was taken into Councillor Johnston's house adjoin- 
ing the hall, and introduced to him. He then let me 
into the hall, where I sat down in a small room off 
the platform, and passed the time making notes for 
some matter I had in hand. 

It was yet quite light, and while seated there writ- 
ing I was an interested observer of an early attempt 
by a section of the mob to gain access to the hall 
surreptitiously by the back door. Some venturous 
spirit climbed the wall and opened the big gate, and 
the enclosure began to fill rapidly. There is no 
knowing what might have happened, but just at this 
juncture the police became aware of the move and 



332 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

drove the people out, after which the door and gate 
were guarded. 

It was usual for Mr. Webster on Sunday evenings 
to hold a service in the hall, and, as it was known 
that the Stop the War meeting was to follow, the 
service was more largely attended than usual All 
who cared to attend the service were permitted to do 
so. A number of young men, principally students, 
evidently anticipating some difficulty in gaining 
access later, gained admittance. Fortunately, Coun- 
cillor Johnston at the door saw what this meant ; and 
exercising a wise discretion, discriminated as carefully 
as possible between those who came to attend the 
service and those who wished to wreck the meeting 
later. He refused admittance to the latter dass, and 
it was forttmate that he did so. Yet a considerable 
number got in, seating themselves mostly in the gal- 
lery. Mr. Webster's address was on great pictures, 
and was most interesting. He prefaced it by saying 
he heard there was to be a riot that evening, but he 
trusted for the credit of Aberdeen there would be no 
such thing. It would be a shame, he said, if the 
liberty of speech for which he and many others had 
fought in Aberdeen were to be denied to me, who 
came to put before them the case of the people I 
represented While this meeting was in progress 
there was some attempt at disturbance, but it was 
clear that the promoters of the meeting meant to have 
order, for a man in the front seat, who in an unseemly 
manner manifested his dissent from some argument 
Mr. Webster was advancing, promptly had a couple 
of men at his side determined to expel him if he 
persisted. At the close of the service, Mr. Webster 
asked those who desired to remain to come forward 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 333 

and occupy the front rows of seats, which they did to 
the number of about 50a This was a wise strategic 
move, and tmdoubtedly did much to save the hall 
subsequently from being wrecked. Mr. Webster 
stated to a newspaper man : " If it had not been that 
I held a service in the evening there would have 
been no Stop the War meeting at alL All those who 
attended my meeting remained to hear Mr. Schreiner 
— ^they couldn't get out I am convinced that if my 
congregation had dismissed, and the crowd entered, 
there would have been a riot in the hall and the 
building probably wrecked/' The students in the 
gallery remained there, where they noisily and dis- 
gracefully misbehaved themselves. Meanwhile, the 
sound of riotous proceedings came from outside — 
shouting, singing, cheering, and the usual muddled 
din and ominous roar of a great mob. Those within 
the hall, hearing these noises, and being told by some 
who entered of the unprecedented state of things out- 
side, anxiously directed their eyes towards the en- 
trance door where the crowd was expected to surge 
ia None were so on the tip-toe of anxious expecta- 
tion as the Imperialists, who, in conformity with the 
organised plan to break up the meeting and assault 
me, had taken up positions in the hall and were 
eagerly awaiting the arrival of their confederates in 
overwhelming numbers. But, to their evident anger 
and dismay, the audience came in only in driblets. It 
was clear a strong man was at the door who was not 
going to have the meeting rushed and the hall 
wrecked We shall hear of Councillor Johnston 
directly : he had charge of the hall, and, like another 
Horatius, he '' kept the gate " and helped to save the 
property. 



334 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

As time wore on after 7 o'clock, the platform people 
began to arrive in the ante-room where I was. Mrs. 
Fyvie Mayo had wrestled through, as her broken 
umbrella showed — a strenuous, large-hearted woman. 
Many others bore marks, in dishevelled clothing, of 
their struggles to get through, and all told tales 
of the huge, vicious mob that had gathered out- 
side, increasing every moment. It was but what 
I had expected and prophesied: it was no news 
to me. 

We walked on to the platform at 7.30, and had, on 
the whole, an enthusiastic reception; though, of 
course, the Imperialists, who were in an insignificant 
minority, yet large enough to stop the proceedings 
if not kept well in hand, booed and hooted after their 
manner. The body of the hall was about comfortably 
full, but there were not many in the galleries. It was 
abundantly clear that the meeting was with us. Some 
policemen were at the back and two lines of stewards, 
to keep order. 

Mr James Hardie, still hot from his excTting adven- 
ture in the afternoon — ^hot and angry, as he well might 
be, but quite undaunted — took the chair. Others on 
the platform were Mr. Alex. Webster, Mrs. Fyvie 
Mayo, Mr. J. H. Elric, Dr. Ferdinands, Mr. A Ritchie, 
Mr. Rathie (of the Keith Stop the War Committee, 
the writer of an able pamphlet on the war), Mr. David 
Smith, Mr. T. Kennedy, Mr. Wm. Leask, and Mr. 
Wm. Sangster. 

Mr. Hardie opened the meeting with a few vigorous 
remarks, denouncing the capitalists' war in ringing 
terms. He was subjected to many insults and frequent 
interruptions, and concluded his speech amidst an up- 
roar. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 335 

Mr. Webster proposed the first resolution, as 
follows : — 

" That this meeting of the citizens of Aberdeen ex- 
presses the opinion that the aggressive policy of the 
Government in the interests of capital in South Africa, 
and its violation of the Treaty of 1884, which estab- 
lished the internal independence of the Transvaal Re- 
public, are directly responsible for the present war, 
which it therefore considers unnecessary and unjust, 
and calls upon the Government to agree to the re- 
[>eated requests of the Republican Governments that 
matters in dispute should be settled by arbitration, and 
further desires to express the opinion that no settle- 
ment can be considered just and honourable which 
does not retain and include the former independence 
of the Transvaal Republic and the Orange Free 
State." 

Mr. Webster made two chief points and made them 
well. He dwelt upon the Commandment, "Thou 
shalt not kill," and at times almost hushed the meet- 
ing ; and he compared the Boers under Kruger to the 
Scots under Wallace. This parallel he drove home 
— as it well can be driven home — but it caused a tre- 
mendous commotion. The interruption was so great 
that the chairman threatened to have a man put out, 
which increased the uproar. 

Mrs. Fyvie Mayo seconded. She was rudely treated 
the students imitating her feminine voice and shouting 
insults at her. But she took it all splendidly, and got 
in some capital rejoinders, as when she said, " Those 
young men were young men — ^very yoimg men — and 
didn't know better " ; and when she told them she had 
been paying taxes when they were in their cradles, 
the audience laughing mightily. But a cad is not so 



336 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

easily silenced, and the insulting interruptions and 
rowdyism continued She introduced the question of 
India most effectively. 

I was the next speaker. A scene of great disorder 
ensued when I arose. The vast majority were with 
us, but anyone who has had fo do with big meetings 
knows how comparatively a mere handful determined 
to interrupt can upset a meeting. The anti-war men 
cheered vociferously, standing up and waving hats 
and handkerchiefs ; the Imperialists booed and yelled 
back. This went on for several minutes. I do not 
think I ever spoke under such trjdng conditions. In 
the first place, I have not a particularly strong voice ; 
in the next, my tHroat was weakened by a cough — 
which I did not throw quite ofiF till I was back in 
South Africa. Then there was a section of the 
audience that was seldom quiet for a minute, and whom 
I only kept in check — as far as I did so — ^by countering 
quickly on interruptioa Most of the time they were 
making a great dia In addition there was a mob of 
30,000 outside assaulting the hall at three doors, trying 
to storm it and obtain entrance. The roar from out- 
side came to us, and we heard breaking glass. For 
all we knew, the mob might storm in at any moment, 
and destroy the hall, and maltreat the leading anti- 
war people. I hope I may never have to speak imder 
such trying conditions again. 

Towards the end of my speech, the noise became so 
overwhelming, and one man — z student — was so con- 
spicuously noisy, that the chairman, remarking truly 
enough of the occasion, but perhaps not quite wisely 
at the moment, that the term " gentleman " was a mis- 
nomer when applied to University students, ordered 
the police to put the man out. Then a terrible dis- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 33? 

turbance followed Many of the audience arose, some 
shouting one thing, some another : " Soldiers of the 
Queen " was sung, there was a perfect pandemonium 
of shouting and cheering, while handkerchiefs, hats, 
and flags flew in the throbbing air. The police and 
stewards moved forward to eject the man, but the 
students closed around him. The chairman's appeals 
to the audience to sit down were mostly unheard and 
wholly disregarded. Now, if the police and stewards 
had acted promptly they could have bad that student 
out and all his assistants if necessary in a few minutes, 
but they did not act with decision. Seeing this, and 
that, in consequence, a persistence in such a course 
would end the meeting then and there, I advanced to 
the edge of the platform and asked that the man be 
left alone. This secured order for a moment ; with a 
final cheer the students sat down, and I concluded my 
speech in a few short sentences, when the noise was 
renewed. 

Just before I began my speech, a student named 
Charles M. Grey had arisen to propose an amendment, 
but had resiuned his seat on being assured by the chair- 
man that he would have an opportunity of moving it 
later. Mr. Grey now again rose to move his amend- 
ment In the interim he had been one of the worst 
behaved of a badly behaved company — the ringleader 
evidently of the rowdies. He was asked to move it 
from the platform, so he came up. tie was in a great 
state of excitement and nervousness, but he had an air 
of impudence which, mixed with his shaking, was most 
ludicrous. He said he had an amendment to move, 
but before moving it he wished to say that this was 
understood to be a meeting of citizens, yet a body of 
men who called the meeting had gone to the door and 



338 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

shut out those who they imagined did not agree with 
them. This untruth (for such it was, as will be seen 
on reference to the account of what happened outside 
the hall) was loudly cheered by his confederates. Then 
Mr. Grey read his amendment, which had been pre- 
pared carefully, as follows: — 

*^ That this meeting expresses the opinion that the 
contemptible action of those men, and sometimes 
women, who are in many cases directly or indirectly 
in the payment of the Transvaal Government, and the 
remainder who, for their own personal vanity and petty 
glorification, attempt the downfall of the glorious 
British Empire, should be considered beneath the 
notice of the Government, who, with the approval of a 
magnificent and mighty majority of its people, have 
most gloriously carried through — or very nearly carried 
through* — a glorious war which the Transvaal and 
Orange Free State Republics have thought fit to wage 
with us, firstly by the violation of the Treaty of 1884, 
and secondly the invasion of her Majesty's dominions, 
and that the only honourable and just settlement which 
can now be made is that the war be continued until the 
two Republics in question unconditionally surrender, 
and thus establish a lasting peace which shall neces- 
sarily mean the development of commerce and industry 
which shall distinctly benefit both employer and the 
employed, not only of these two Republics and the 
British Empire, but also the whole world." 

During the reading of the amendment there was a 
great uproar, which prevented its being heard except 



* (Note added in July, 1901.) This was a fortunate 
saving clause, as fourteen months have passed since these 
words were spoken, and the " glorious war '' still continues. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 339 

comparatively by a few. Having read it, Mr. Grey 
left the platform. 

The chairman put the amendment, which was secon- 
ded by Mr. Calder, first He asked those in its favour 
to stand up. In the body of the hall forty~one stood 
up— I counted them. Those in the gallery — who were 
only a small number — I could not count. Then he 
asked those in favour of the original resolution to 
stand up, when about half the hall or more rose, thus 
furnishing an overwhelming majority. A great many 
did not vote either way. All this was done amidst a 
scene of considerable disorder, which increased as the 
students saw they were defeated, and which culminated 
in a terrific outbreak when the chairman declared the 
original resolution carried. There were ringing cheers 
from the Peace party and howls of anger and maledic- 
tion from the Imperialists. Mr. Grey now ascended 
the platform again and wanted to make a speech, but 
this, of course, the chairman would not allow. Then, 
amid a scene of the wildest uproar, he demanded most 
insultingly of the chairman to have a recount, and 
asked that those in favour of the amendment m^ht 
be told to go into the gallery. The idea was obvious : 
he desired to get all the rowdies together where they 
could act in concert. The demand was promptly re- 
fused, and Mr. Grey was requested to leave the plat- 
form. This he refused to do, and a couple of stewards 
were about to throw him off when I asked them to 
leave him. He remained on, clearly with the view of 
getting others of His party to come up and thus get 
possession of the platform. One djd come up, and 
when threatened by a steward looked him up and 
down with a melodramatic air that was irresistibly 
comic One or two others were proceeding to come 

y a 



340 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

up also when I asked the stewards to stop them — a 
request which the chairman promptly supported ; and 
no one else succeeded in getting up. The din all this 
time was indescribable. At one moment a rtunour 
went round the platform, blanching some faces and 
horrifying all. It was said that Mr. Webster's house 
had been wrecked and his wife killed* : this is what 
was whispered to me. Finally, after Mr. Webster had 
made an unsuccessful attempt to speak, and all the 
chairman's efforts to restore order were unavailing, I 
addressed Mr. Grey, who was beside himself with rage 
and disappointment, and asked him what he wanted 
He said the meeting was not a public one, as so many 
had been shut out I asked him if he would accept the 
original motion if a rider were added to it to the effect 
that if the general public had been freely admitted it 
could not have been carried. He replied in the affir- 
mative I then cautioned him quietly to leave the 
platform, and turning to his melodramatic co-rowdy 
touched him on the arm and said, "Go down." Mr. 
Grey went down, and his companion, seeing that he 
had more than exhausted our patience, followed him. 
As soon as they had gone down, and their companions 
at the foot of the stairs had retired a few yards, I 
immediately wrote down on a piece of paper the rider 
I had proposed to Mr. Grey, and passed it down to 
him. But his consent had been false ; for when he 
had it in his hand he signified that he would not agree, 



* The newspaper report says : " Mr. Grey ultimately came 
down from the platform, remarking that Mr. Webster had 
appealed to him to leave the platform, saying: 'Are you 




THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 341 

shaking his silly head with pouting lips sullenly and 
savagely at me. 

Hoping still 4o restore order, as a last resource I 
came forward to the edge of the platform, and, having 
procured something approaching to silence, said it 
had been claimed that if the doors had been thrown 
open unreservedly the resolution could not have been 
carried This, I added, we were willing to admit was 
true ; we granted that the resolution had been carried 
with that understanding. But this was only received 
with yells. The chairman then proceeded to read the 
second resolution, but no one could hear him amid the 
noise. The students and such others as were with 
them now pulled out their concealed Union Jacks, and 
endeavoured to rouse the audience by cheering and 
singing " Soldiers of the Queen^' Mr. Grey, who was 
nearer the platform than the bulk of his fellows, was 
particularly conspicuous. Turning to those behind 
him he marked time vigorously with his flag, singing 
loudly and waving the flag from them towards the 
platform. It was clear he meant them to come on, but 
they had not lost their heads so completely as this 
nervous young man, and saw they had no chance. 
But they were strong enough now that they had got 
the meeting thoroughly excited, and the anti-war men 
answering them, to prevent the meeting from accom- 
plishing anything further. Seeing this, and that things 
were growing worse every moment, I asked the chair- 
man to declare the meeting closed, as he promptly 
did. Three cheers were given for me, answered by 
the leather-throated students with counter-shouts, and 
amidst a scene of the wildest uproar in the section of 
the hall where the Imperialists had collected, the 
meeting closed. I could not help being struck, how- 



342 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

ever, with the calm demeanour of most of the people 
present, especially Mr. Webster's congregation in the 
front rows. 

The hall was gradually cleared, but we of the plat- 
form and others waited. Knowing it would not do 
to go out at this juncture, we sat down and chatted 
pleasantly. When the hall was empty except for our- 
selves and a small knot of men (mostly stewards), one 
of the stewards came up and said the Imperialists had 
left a spy in the hall to watch when I left, and so in- 
form the mob that they might attack me on my goio^ 
out A little inquiry showed this to be true. The 
spy, seeing he was discovered, and being cautioned to 
leave, slunk out defeated. About an hour after the 
meeting was closed. Councillor Johnston came and 
asked us to go over to his house, immediately adjoin- 
ing. We did so, and he locked the hall, which at last 
was quite deserted and silent. We passed out of the 
front door into the cool, damp street A few police 
and a soldier stood at the door, but the street was 
quite empty. We learnt that the crowd had been 
driven out, and that a line of police and military was 
now drawn across it at both ends. The roofs of such 
neighbouring houses as were accessible had also been 
cleared, so we were safe from spies. We waited some 
time in the Trades Council office, during which time 
Mr. Webster telephoned to know if the mob had been 
cleared from his house, and if it were safe for us to 
return, making inquiries also as to the welfare of its 
inmates. I was not decided about returning to the 
house, both for my own sake and that of the Websters, 
for I felt certain scouts would be watching street cor- 
ners for me — a forecast which proved to be correct — 
and I had asked Mr. Johnston about staying in his 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 343 

house until the small hours of the morning'. But it 
was not long before Chief Constable Wyness came in 
and said that all was now clear, the crowd having been 
broken up and dispersed He had in his hand a 2 lb. 
grocer's iron weight, which he said had been thrown 
violently at and just missed the head of Bailie Lyon, 
the chief magistrate of the dty. Mr. Wyness looked 
hot, but pleased with himself — as well he might be, for 
it was only his personal presence, ready action, and 
iron will that saved the hall from wreckage and the 
people from serious assault* He said he thought it 
was safe for us all to go now, and, with regard to 
myself, that I had best light a cigar, put up my um- 
breUa, and walk unconcernedly up to Mr. Webster's : 
r was not known and would not be recognised. A 
policeman should " shadow " me at a distance in case 
of my being waylaid and discovered. I replied that I 
would not light the cigar, not being a regular smoker, 
but that I'd do tBe rest. So, bidding good-bye to the 
kind and brave friends, I sallied out with Mr. Web- 
ster's son as a guide — ^it being considered unwise that 
Mr. Webster himself or any well-known man should 
accompany me. Mr. Webster was to follow after a 
short interval. Mr. Webster, junior, and I walked out. 
We went out into the damp, cool, silent street, now 

* I was told afterwards tJiat his ascendency over the 
town was remarkable, that he had got it under his thumb 
and " terrorised " it. This ascendency enabled him to hold 
in check the tremendous assault on the hall, for which 
let him have all praise. A more complete performance of 
his duties, however, would have resulted in the arrest and 
vigorous prosecution of many people. But this is probably 
not his fauh ; he very well knew that the Local authorities 
were not behind him ; that, in fact, they practicallv con- 
nived at the whole affair. No one was arrested in the hall 
or in connection with the riot that took place within it. 



344 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

quite deserted At the end of it we passed the cordon 
of police. The crowd had been practically dispersed. 
We passed a good many people standi]^ about, 
singly, in twos and threes, and in knots, but they did 
not know me, and I passed unrecognised through 
them. Our way lay down Belmont Street, along 
Union Street, Crown Street, and by Ferry Hill to 
Concord House, on Fonthill Terrace, which we 
reached shortly before midnight As we were 
approaching our destination, several young men, 
evidently some of the mob who had been at 
Mr. Webster's house, were shouting in conversation 
to some one in an upstairs window across the street 
When they said, " All the windows in Webtser's house 
are broken," this was too much for young Mr. Web- 
ster, who shouted back, " No they're not " — which was 
somewhat unwise of him. A small knot of young 
people were still standing in front of the house, chat- 
ting and smoking ; but it was guarded by half-a-dozen 
policemen, and we passed in immolested. Mr. Web- 
ster, who arrived a bit later, came in, I believe, by a 
back entrance, which was wise, as he was well known, 
whereas I was not I had, However, what the Evening 
Express called a narrow escape. 

I give the incident in its own words, merely remark- 
ing that I knew nothing about it till I saw it in print 
It was evident I had well judged the methods and 
designs of the Imperialists. The escape was in its 
way as remarkable as that in Edinburgh. 

"A NARROW ESCAPE FOR SCHREINER 

" Obeying the advice to walk home quietly through 

the streets last night (Chief Constable Wyness's 

opinion being that this was the safest proceeding, as 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 345 

Mr. Schreiner was practically unknown in Aberdeen), 
the pro-Boer agitator walked up Belmont Street and 
Union Street, and turned down Crown Street on his 
way to Concord House, which is just off Fonthill 
Road On the opposite side of the street walked two 
policemca In Crown Street a crowd of students and 
others watching for Mr. Schreiner was encountered. 
The leaders asked the constables if they Could tell 
where Schreiner had gone. The object of their 
search on the opposite pavement no doubt heard their 
question and the By no means complimentary names 
by which he was designate'd, but he walked on while 
the policemen affected entire ignorance of where the 
man was. Had he been recognised at that place, Mr. 
Schreiner would probably have been mobbed and 
otherwise roughly handled, the spirit of the crowd 
being very much incensed against him." 

While seated in Mr. Webster's dining room, the 
[)oliceman in charge of the guard (half-a-dozen had 
been left to guard the house till the morning) came in 
to see me. He liad stripes on his arm, and was, I 
suppose, a sergeant or corporal. He said he wanted 
to see the man that had been able to create such a riot. 
As I shook hands with him, I was much struck with 
his splendid physique and pleased with his open, 
handsome countenance. I invited him to sit down, 
and we had a pleasant chat 

It was arranged that I should telephone in the 
morning the time of the train I was leaving by, so 
that a guard of police might be sent to the station to 
see me safely away. 

Before we retired for the night Mrs. Webster came 
in. She looked deadly ill, and no wonder, as I shall 
presently relate. I felt keen pain that such people 



346 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

should have to endure so much suffering for their 
opinions — as they have had for a long time — and that 
I should, however unintentionally, have added to their 
sufferings. She gave us food, told us briefly why and 
how she had fled the house, and then went off to sleep 
at a neighbour's, her own house being yet too closely 
associated with the terror she had endured that 
dreadful night 

With regard to the meeting, I consider it a remark- 
able fact that it was carried through at all. It is more 
noteworthy than the Glasgow meeting, for there pro- 
vision had been made by admitting men early. Here, 
beyond the fact that psdpable rowdies were kept out 
by the police, and that the hall was lodced by the 
caretaker when it was only comfortably full, to pre- 
vent its being wrecked, no precautions were taken to 
prevent the meeting being a public one. It was indeed 
fortunate that Mr. Webster's service preceded the 
meeting ; but, as he says, his audience could not get 
out The meetii^ was a successful one under the cir- 
cumstances : I was able to make my speech, and the 
main resolution was carried by an overwhelming 
majority — this notwithstanding the fact that it was a 
Socialist meeting and thus alienated some who, while 
not Socialists, yet condemned the war. 

Part III. 
The 30,000 Mob. 

I saw nothing of what happened outside of the hall, 
for when I entered, the mob had not begun to collect, 
and when I came out it had been dispersed. As I left 
early in the morning of the day after the riot, and had 
no opportunity of hearing an account of the mob from 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 347 

an eye-witness, I must perforce fall back upon the 
local newspapers. 

I have the four papers of Aberdeen beside me : the 
Daily Fret Press and the Evening Gazette^ nominally 
Liberal, and the Journal and the Evening Express^ 
Tory. But all are Jii^o on the South African war — 
there is practically nothing to choose between them. 
The accounts in tJie first two are identical, and those 
of the last two are identical, except that tihe evening 
papers have a little additional matter. 

It is to be regretted that there is no account (as far 
as I know) in a truly Liberal paper which condemns 
the war. An account in such a paper would have 
shown the vile conduct of the mob in a very different 
light ; for it will be readily seen that the Jingo papers 
put as mild a complexion on the matter as possible, 
minimising the utter blackguardism of it all, and 
praising as patriotism what any gentleman would re- 
pudiate with scorn. 

The Journal and Evening Express account of the 
2 1 St of May is as follows: — 

" Mr. S. C. Cronwright Schreiner, the * Stop the 
War * orator, yesterday visited Aberdeen, and the city 
was the scene of the most turbulent proceedings in the 
annals of modern times. Two hours before the adver- 
tised time of commencing, thousands of people had 
assembled in Belmont Street, and soon it became evi- 
dent that the utmost efforts of the large force of police- 
men present, imder the personal superintendence of 
Chief Constable Wyness, would be powerless to pre- 
vent the crowd taking the hall by storm if the doors 
were opened. Time and again the crowd drove the 
constables before them, although it could not be said 
at this time that ihe conduct of the people was dis- 



348 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

orderly. The poEoemen had their duty to do, how- 
ever, and frequently batons had to be drawn to keep 
back the mob. These incidents were alternated with 
the singing of loyal and patriotic melodies, the waving 
of Union Jacks, and cheering loud and long for the 
Queen and the various poUtical and military leaders. 
Presently, as some of the patriotic members of the 
crowd got near the hall door where the Socialists were 
assembled, a series of free fights took place, and details 
of the unparalleled proceedings are subjoined. 

IN BELMONT STREET, 

" By half -past six the crowd in Belmont Street num- 
bered several thousands. Chief Constable Wyness 
personally superintended the police arrangements, and 
was assisted by Superintendent Morren. There were 
twenty-one constables, who at first had no difficulty in 
keeping order. A number of students led the singing, 
which included such patriotic songs as 'Scots Wha 
Hae,' ' Soldiers of the Queen,' etc Gradually, how- 
ever, the crowd began to press forward, and several 
attempts were made to get past the police by rushes. 
It was then the constables found it necessary to draw 
their batons. They were, as a rule, careful in their 
use of them, though occasionally some more daring 
fellow got a stroke which he remembered for some 
time afterwards. At the south end of the street the 
crowd seemed more determined than that at the north 
end, and there was a good deal of cheering and 
hooting. Amongst the number who found their way 
into the space fronting the hall was a young man who 
had a Union Jack attached to his walking-stick. This 
was the rallying point for his companions. Several of 
the members of the Social Democratic Federation, 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 349 

in an attempt to get hold of this flag, were rather 
roughly handled, and more than one free fight took 
place, requiring the intervention of friends. One of 
the Socialists gave such a blow to a student, Richard 
Brown, son of Dr. Brown of H.M.S. ' Clyde,' that the 
young fellow was knocked down, and his head came 
heavily against the stones of the street, a large wound 
being inflicted, from which the blood flowed freely. 
He was carried away by several of his companions, 
who endeavoured to get medical assistance as soon as 
possible. Another young man had the blood stream- 
ing from his left temple as the result of a blow. ' Rule 
Britannia' was sung with great spirit previous to 
another rush being made, accompanied by a wild 
cheer, but once more it was repulsed. 

AT THE COMMENCEMENT OF THE MEETING. 

" The first indication given to pressmen and the few 
other privileged people who waited in the vicinity of 
the hall that the meeting had really commenced was 
the appearance of Coimcillor Johnston, who, after ad* 
mitting the reporters, promptly locked the door. 
Several rushes were made to get past the police, but 
in these the invaders were only partially successful 

ARRIVAL OF MORE POLICE. 

" About eight o'clock a detachment of twenty con- 
stables of the night force appeared on the scene, and 
the clearing out process began in earnest At the 
Union Street end of the thoroughfare the crowd were 
moved back by the mounted police to as far as 
Little Belmont Street, where a cordon of constables 
were posted to prevent any further inrush. At the 
Schoolhill end a line of police was drawn up, and then 



350 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

a number of men were detached to clear the lobbies 
of houses and the roofs of the low-walled buildings 
opposite the Trades HalL Drawing their batons, the 
policemen cleared the passages in quick style, the 
citizens who were turned out making for the best 
place of safety possible, which seemed to be where the 
crowd was in Schoolhill In the work of keeping the 
space between Little Belmont Street and Schoolhill 
clear, the policemen did not hesitate to use switchesu 
The enclosure in front of the Institution for Deaf and 
Dumb was thronged, and in their eagerness to see 
what was going on the crowd destroyed part of the 
iron railing, and in the squeeze that took place several 
panes of glass in the windows were broken. 

THE SWELLING CROWDS. 

" The crowds were still increasing, being swelled by 
people on their way home from church. From the 
centre of the railway bridge in Rosemount Viaduct 
to a point opposite the City Churchyard was one dense 
mass of human beings. The sills of the windows in 
the Art Gallery were taken possession of, and the Gor- 
don Statue, which formed a fine coign of vantage, was 
taken possession of; the sightseers who were fortu- 
nate in getting there clambered to the top of the pede- 
stal, hanging on to the representation of the hero of 
Khartoum for dear life. From Little Belmont Street 
all the way to Union Street, and along the latter 
thoroughfare to the centre of the bridge on the west 
and away down as far as Back Wynd, the people stood 
in one solid mass. Occasionally rain fell heavily, 
and when umbrellas went up the scene reminded one 
of a huge hippodrome. The number of the crowd at 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 351 

this time was variously estimated at from 20,000 to 
30,000. 

A FLANK MOVEMENT IN DENBURN ROAD- 

*' Baulked of their desire to force their way to the 
Trades Hall by the front, a large number of persons 
made their way to Denbum Road, where they com- 
menced a bombardment in rear of the buildings, and 
succeeded in breaking one pane of glass in the lower 
halL The police got intimation of the attack, how- 
ever, and a detachment was at once sent to the scene 
of operations. The crowd was driven back, and a 
strong guard was placed at each end of the Denbum 
Road to keep them back from again taking a position 
at the rear of the buildings. 

BAILIE LYON ON THE SCENE. 

"Bailie Lyon, senior magistrate, who had been 
apprised of what was going on, arrived on the scene 
between eight and nine o'clock ; and, taking in the 
situation, decided that it would be necessary to take 
strong measures to disperse the crowds. He was 
afraid that in the darkness of the night some serious 
injury might be done to property, and very probably 
to Ufe, there being an evident tendency on the part of 
the crowds to become angry. Indeed, he had a rather 
unpleasant experience, and one which showed that the 
people were becoming restive and more indined to 
resist with violence the efforts of the police to maintain 
order. While walking in the vicinity of Colonel Innes 
of Leame/s residence in Belmont Street in company 
with Chief Constable Wyness, a missile passed uncom- 
fortably near his l^ad and alighted with considerable 
force on the street in front of him. Coolly stooping, 



353 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

he picked up the missile, which proved to be an old 
2 lb. iron weight The missile was thrown with great 
force, and had it hit the Bailie it must have seriously 
injured him. The impatience of the crowd was be- 
coming more apparent in Schoolhill, and it was deter- 
mined to call out the miUtary, Bailie Lyon being of 
opinion that the appearance of the soldiers might have 
a quieting effect. He was prepared, however, to read 
the Riot Act were it necessary, but hopes were enter- 
tained that that step would not have to be taken. 
Accordingly a request was sent to Castlehill Barracks 
for fifty men, or as many more as the military authori- 
ties might deem desirable. Darkness was coming 
down quickly, and there seemed to be Uttle or no 
diminution in the crowds, who continued to sing and 
cheer alternately. 

ARRIVAL OF THE MILITARY. 

** A little after ten o'clock the soldiers, consisting of 
fifty rank and file and ten non-commissioned officers 
of the Gordon Highlanders, imder command of Major 
Payne, who had marched from Castlehill by Union 
Street, St Nicholas Street, and Schoolhill, arrived on 
the scene. The men wore their overcoats, and were 
armed to meet any emergency. With their rifles at 
' the slope,* they marched in a body slowly down Bel- 
mont Street. At Little Belmont Street they were 
halted, and there order was given to ' Stand at ease.' 
A conversation then took place between Bailie Lyon, 
Major Payne, and Chief Constable Wyness, and orders 
were afterwards gfiven to the mounted police to move 
forward and drive the crowds in front of them. The 
command " Quick March " was given, and the soldiers, 
with their rifles at the ' trail,' marched briskly down 



•., 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 353 

Belmont Street, the crowd quickly disappearing before 
them into Union Street The Gordons were then 
halted at the top of Belmont Street while the pohce 
dispersed the crowd in Union Street and Union 
Bridge. While on duty there the soldiers were made 
the butt of good-natured chaif on the part of the 
people, who shouted, 'Good old Gordons,' 'Three 
cheers for Hector Macdonald,* 'Three cheers for 
Baden-Powell.' They were also entertained to a ren- 
dering of ' Soldiers of the Queen,' and the ' Boys of 
the Old Brigade.' Policemen were posted at Little 
Belmont Street, and the mounted officers directed 
their efiForts to dispersing the crowds in Schoolhill. 
Gradually this work was effected, and a little after 
eleven o'clock the people left Half an hour later, 
however, there was still a considerable crowd about 
Union Bridge. However, they were forced west by 
the foot and mounted police, and finally dispersed 
about the Music Hall. The soldiers were marched 
back to barracks, and the streets resumed tlieir normal 
aspect The Riot Act, fortunately, had not to be read, 
otherwise the result might have been serious. 

THE POLICE SERVICES. 

" Chief Constable Wyness states that in all his forty 
years' esqperience he never witnessed a scene like that 
presented last night It says a great deal for the 
manner in which the policemen and their officers did 
their duty that the rowdyism was not worse than it 
was. Both restrained their temper, and only when 
compelled had they recourse to violence." 

The Daily Free Press and Evening Ganeite account 
of the 2 1st May is as follows : — 

"A disgraceful and discreditable scene took place 

2 



\ 



354 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

in Aberdeen last night in connection with the Stop the 
War meeting, held in the Trades Hall under the 
auspices of the Aberdeen branch of the Social Demo- 
cratic Federation, at which Mr. Cronwright Schreiner 
was the principal speaker. It had been pretty well 
understood that organised attempts were being made^ 
to refuse Mr. Schreiner a hearing, and to break up the 
meeting ; and, although neither of these objects was 
achieved, the mob succeeded in giving no uncertain 
declaration of their attitude to Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner and his policy. The police were well aware 
of the movement that was quietly at work to give Mr. 
Schreiner a hostile reception, and had made prepara- 
tions accordingly ; but Chief Constable Wyness found 
himself face to face with a state of matters that from 
the very first looked serious, and caUed for prompt 
and decisive action. The student element was present 
in considerable strength, but the crowd was composed 
of all ranks and conditions, all equally determined to 
give a reason for the faith that was in them. First of 
aU, the mounted officers were called in to reinforce the 
ordinary staif of constables, and later on came the 
military, who did capital work, and before whose firm 
stand the disturbing force gradually melted away. 

''Mr. Schreiner arrived at the Trades Hall very 
quietly about six o'clock. He was a prisoner in the 
building till past eleven, when he slipped away un- 
observed after the crowd had exhausted itself and 
become tired of the open-air demonstration. The 
meeting was fixed to b^in at half-past seven o'clock, 

* A corrospondent in the Ft$$ Prtss of th« a3rd acknow- 
ledges that ^ the students assembled at the Trades Hall hj 
arrangement, as they had resolved to attend in a bodjr 
for purposee of etlf *«ef ence " It 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 355 

and people passing Belmont Street on the way to 
churdx about six were surprised to find at that early 
hour a considerable crowd at the Schoolhill end of the 
thoroughfare. Half an hour later the free passage of 
the street was blocked at both ends, and the rowdyism 
immediately afterwards begaa The police numbered 
at the outset about twenty strong, but their numbers 
were totally inadequate to cope with the demands 
made upon them. The constables did their best to 
keep an open space in front of the Trades H?ll, and 
to prevent a rush being made on the door. Councillor 
Johnston gave it to be understood that nobody would 
get in until after seven o'clock. A number of students 
tried to gain entrance to Mr. Webster's religious meet- 
ing at six o'clock, but Mr. Johnston foresaw disturb- 
ance,* and only applicants whose appearance indi- 
cated that they would obey the dictates of law 
and order were allowed admittance. In spite, how- 
ever, of a very strict plan of selection, a goodly number 
found their way into the hall whose views were far 
from being in sympathy with the Socialists. Chief 
Constable Wyness realised that with constables on 
foot the crowd might get the upper hand, and he gave 
orders for four mounted men to be brought on the 
scene. Repeated attempts to break the Une of police 
defence were made, but the constables were a deter- 
mined lot, and when matters reached a crisis they drew 

* " Student,^ in the Fri9 Press of the 23rd, says that the 
students ^ marched down to the Trades Hall quietly, except 
for the singine of a few patriotic sones, and were refused 
admittance till 6.30. They obeyed the constables quietly 
and waited patiently until Chief Constable Wyness appeared 
and refused admittance altogether to such as were under 
twenty-five, thereby excluding most, if not all." Whereat 
the students were "extremely indignant"; but Mr. Wyness 
saw their little game clearly and acted accordingly. 

Z 2 



356 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

their batons and charged A little crowd which had 
gathered at the door of the hall was promptly cleared 
away, and any refugees who were taking shelter in 
the lobbies of adjoining tenements had to disappear 
before the march of the police. The patriotism of the 
gathering foimd expression in ' God Save the Queen/ 
' Soldiers of the Queen,' and other rousing choruses. 
The yelling and shoutii^ were constant, and must have 
seriously disturbed the neighbouring congregations 
who were assembled for worship. Up to this time 
the crowd was excedingly good-humoured, and the 
abortive attempts to rush the constables generally 
called forth hearty laughter. Between the Trades 
Hall and Union Street the crowd was very large and 
sometimes very noisy. Everybody was anxious, or 
seemed anxious, to gain admittance to the hall, and to 
see Mr. Cronwright Schreiner. Sometimes the front 
rank guarded by the police adopted the old plan of a 
combined rush for the door, but their success in 
evading the constabulary was only temporary. They 
were driven from comer to comer, and chased 
from pillar to post, till ^ they were glad to 
beat a retreat into the arms of the crowd at the top 
end of the street At the Schoolhill end the crowd 
increased enormously, and took possession of every 
point from which they could see the movements of 
those in the front rank who were foremost in the fray. 
About seven o'clock a determined effort was made to 
force an entrance into the halL The crowd broke 
through the line of constables and rushed pell-mell for 
the hall. The police drew their batons and dealt out 
right and left, and finally saved the situation. The 
horses had not yet arrived, and it was as clear as 
anything oould be that unless so reinforced the staff 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 357 

of police could not much longer hold out against such 
overwhelming odds. Flags were displayed on 
walking-sticks, hats and caps were thrown in the air, 
and only the smallest provocation was required for 
an outburst of 'Soldiers of the Queen/ One con- 
stable had to retire from the conflict : a bag of pease- 
meal caught him on the left eye with deadly aim, and 
compelled him to gpive up the struggle. When the 
police were very active the crowd were the more 
patriotic. One rush for the door they followed with 
' Scots Wha Hae,' and they seemed never to tire of 
* God Save the Queen.' As time went on, the dis- 
turbance increased in volume, and at one point the 
fortunes of war lay with the crowd. They rushed 
the police from both ends, and clamoured at the door 
of the hall A flag which a tall young man bore aloft 
was torn down by the Socialists, only, however, to be 
immediately recovered and hoisted to the accompani- 
ment of ' God Save the Queen.' ' Down with the pro- 
Boers I ' cried a man in the crowd ; and a conflict with 
the Socialists, who* wore their red rosettes, seemed 
imminent. ' Is this a free country ? ' shouted a mem- 
ber of the democratic band. ' Is this godly Aberdeen ? ' 
cried another. And so the wordy warfare went on — 
a cheer for Mafeking or for Baden-Powell being the 
usual rejoinder to any person who dared to indicate 
a pro-Boer policy. At a quarter past seven o'clock 
four mounted officers made their appearance* from 
Schoolhill. They charged at once, and before the 
onward march of the horses the crowd receded, 
only, however, to press forward again on the first 



• Fireworks were thrown under the horses' feet, and great 
confusion followed. 



358 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

opportunity. The mounted men had a difficult task 
to perform, and in the circumstances they acted with 
great discretion and care. A number of little boys 
were in the front rank of the crowd, and the miracle is 
that they just escaped without injury. About half- 
past seven o'clock, just when the proceedings in the 
hall were beginning, the crowd for a period again 
obtained the mastery. They forced their way through 
the police lines, cleverly dodged the horses, and took 
up a stand at the hall door. But their victory was 
short-lived. The police charged for all they were 
worth. The Socialists came to the help of the force, 
and for some minutes free fights were general The 
student element more than held their owa One 
young man, however, was felled to the ground with a 
blow, and was picked up in an unconscious state from 
under the feet of Inspector Buchan's horse. There 
were cries for a doctor, but no medical man could be 
found, and the youth was carried by his comrades to 
the Infirmary. A huge lump of coal, thrown from 
the upper window of the house adjoining the Trades 
Hall, is said to have been responsible for the un- 
conscious condition of another man ; and injuries of 
a less serious character were pretty general all around 
Stones and other missiles were thrown about, squibs 
and crackers fired off, and every possible device re- 
sorted to in order to outwit and aggravate the police. 
Building operations are at present taking place close 
to the Trades Hall, and tlie space within the barri- 
cades came to be known as the laager. Whenever the 
police appeared, mounted or on foot, the crowd fled 
to their entrenchments, but the trick did not last very 
long, and the policemen finally made themselves 
masters of the situation. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 359 

"Occasionally The officers waxed wroth with the 
unruly youths, and packed them unceremoniously to 
the rear ; but, on the whole, the constables, who were 
subjected to a vast amount of banter, behaved ad- 
mirably, and managed fairly well to keep the mob in 
order without arousing the wilder passions. Long 
before eight o'clock the crowd had swelled across 
Union Street, crowded Belmont Street, and over* 
flowed into Gaelic Lane and Little Belmont Street 
There were a good many women and girls in the 
crowd, who came for amusement and remained to 
see the issue. Most of the poUce on duty were at- 
tached to the night staff, and it is safe to say that a 
more exciting night they never spent Over and over 
again it seemed to the casual observer that the people 
would gain the upper hand, and break into the hall 
In order that such a contingency might be thwarted, 
the entrance to the building was locked, and only a 
few allowed admittance one by one. The inadequacy 
of the police numbers continued for a period to give 
the people a measure of latitude which was taken ad- 
vantage of to the fullest extent The constables had 
no sooner cleared one side of the street than the other 
was occupied Then, by a combined effort, the police 
would sweep all before them, cuffing those who re* 
fused to retire. Indeed, the mob before the Trades 
Hall became so pertinacious in their endeavours to 
force a way to the building that batons had to be 
repeatedly drawn, and order enforced in summary 
f ashioa Chief Constable Wyness personally directed 
his men, and it was due to his methods, ably seconded 
by his officers. Superintendent Morren, Inspectors 
Forbes, Buchan, Wilson, and Simpson, that the aowd 
was held in check and a general riot averted 



36o THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

" It was deemed advisable to restrict the numbers 
that were admitted to the Trades Hall, and soon after 
7.30 Councillor Johnston locked the door and carried 
away the key. Several htmdreds tried what they 
could do to get an entrance from the Denbum direc- 
tion, but the police were there in considerable strength 
and the disturbers were hastily beaten off. Determined 
attempts continued to be made to get the better of 
the police, who were working with might and main in 
Belmont Street. Chief Constable Wyness admitted 
that he had a stiff job, but jocularly added that victory 
in the 'battle of Belmont' would lie with his men. 
Somebody in a loud voice cried ' Charge ! ' and the 
charge duly came off. But the mounted men were 
equd to the emergency, and scattered the throng in 
all directions. Batons were drawn, and once more 
the crowd was forced back and compelled to surrender 
to the police. Seeing that they were foiled in every 
effort, and that generally they got the worst of the 
conflict, the mob settled down to await events. They 
sang patriotic songs, snatches of the National Anthem, 
the 23 rd Psalm, ' Onward Christian Soldiers,' and set 
to music ribald rhymes supposed to annoy the con- 
stables. Everybody was Imperialistic, and woe betide 
the unhappy pro-Boer who should be found among 
them. By-and-by more police assistance was secured, 
and gradually the throng was crushed and beaten back 
until the foremost rank stood in Little Belmont Street, 
well out of range of the Trades Council buildings. 
Similarly, the crowd at the Schoolhill end was driven 
well back towards the Art Gallery. Instead of im- 
proving, the behaviour of the assembled thousands 
became worse, and caused no little anxiety. Bailie 
Lyon was sxunmoned, and, after conference with the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 361 

Chief Constable, it was decided to call out the military. 
A message was sent to the barracks for fifty or 
sixty soldiers to help the police in maintaining order. 
Meantime, particularly at the Union Street end of 
Belmont Street, the disturbance showed no signs of 
abating. Stones continued to be thrown, and the 
Chief Constable picked up a heavy leaden weight 
which had been hurled in the direction of the police. 
Soon after ten o'clock. Major Payne with about sixty 
men under him, all carrying their rifles and 
bayonets, appeared on the scene, and, marching at a 
slow pace along Belmont Street, helped the mounted 
police to drive the crowd back to Union Street. The 
soldiers were received with great enthusiasm, and with 
the singing of ' Soldiers of the Queen ' and ' Tommy 
Atkins.' They took their stand at the top of Belmont 
Street, and held the position until order had been re- 
stored. There was some talk of reading the Riot 
Act, but affairs were never in such a serious condition 
as to warrant this course. The cheering and shouting 
continued for a considerable time, but on the appear- 
ance of the Gordons the excitement gradually fell 
away, and about eleven o'clock the men were marched 
back to barracks. Shortly afterwards perfect quiet 
prevailed in the cily." 

Notwithstanding this great riot and the injury to 
persons, and destruction to property, only two arrests 
were made. Dey (who by the way was not a member 
of the Social Democratic Federation, but who was one 
of the stewards) was arrested for striking the young 
student, Brown ; and Thomas Towns, apprentice cabi- 
net maker, was arrested for hitting a policeman, and 
among other things in that he did ** shout and yell, 



362 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

and did annoy and disturb the lieges, and commit a 
breach of the public peace." Dey was, I think, fined 
30s., but what punishment was inflicted on Towns I 
do not know. No students or any of the "gentle- 
men" rowdies were arrested Imperiahsts were ap- 
parently safe from prosecution, no matter how they 
offended. This was a serious enough dereliction of 
duty, but, as will be seen later, no arrests were made 
when even worse acts were conunitted by the licensed 
hooligans of the ^ respectable " classes. It is terrible 
to think what would hare happened had the mob been 
drunk. 

Part IV. 

Mr. Webster's House; Dr. Beveridge; 
Professor Hein ; The Socialists. 

It was not known in Aberdeen when I would arrive 
or where I was to stay ; but some scouts thrown out 
by the Imperialists watched Mr. Webster^s house 
the whole of Sunday morning, as no doubt they did 
other places, on the chance of my going there. As I 
arrived shortly before one o'clock p.m., I was no doubt 
marked down then, for it was known that I was with 
Mr. Webster at Concord House. 

I left early in the afternoon to attend the Social 
Democratic Federation Committee meeting, walking 
down through the streets, and Mr. Webster left early 
to conduct his service. Mrs. Webster attended the 
service, but at the conclusion left quietly by the back 
door and went home. When she arrived at her house 
there were some people hanging about, but no crowd, 
and there was a policeman on guard at the gate. She, 
a delicate woman in bad health, and her little 
boy, were alone in the house. Before long, however, 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 363 

while in the back rooms of the house, she heard the 
front window being opened, and the curtains being 
torn. She ran forward quickly, just in time to see a 
young man pulling down the window. He drew back 
as he saw her, and at the same moment, a large stone 
weighing 8 lbs. was heaved into the bedroom over the 
window, and crashing into the room narrowly missed 
her. This stone, which was subsequently weighed, 
was a jagged lump from the rockery in the garden. 
Mrs. Webster had a very narrow escape from serious 
injury, and was naturally much alarmed and upset, 
but she went courageously to the door. The Im- 
perialists asked if Mr. Webster or I were there. " No," 
she replied. "Were they coming home?" "She 
couldn't tea" '" WeU," replied these cowards, " if 
they do we'll kill Mr. Schreiner, and bum the house 
down." Mrs. Webster implored the fellows to be quiet, 
as there was a child ill upstairs. (The Websters occu- 
pied the ground floor of the house : a family named 
Robb — Imperialist — occupied the upstairs.) " Oh, 
that's all gammon," they cried " Ask for yourselves," 
she answered ; and they went and made inquiries to 
ascertain whether she was speaking the truth. They 
found it was so, and that Mr. Robb was an Imperialist 
Mr. Robb hung a Union Jack out of the window, 
which, it is possible, saved the house. Anyhow, Mrs. 
Webster, alone and unprotected, pulled down the 
blinds, locked the doors and windows, and taking her 
little boy, fled to a neighbour's house, where she spent 
the night Meanwhile the mob had carried the solitary 
policeman on their shoulders to Albury Road, where 
they set him dowa Mr. Robb, expecting a row, 
called for poUce protection, and soon four men 
under a sergeant arrived and guarded the house. 



364 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

It was well they did so, for the mob increased, and 
became more angry and dangerous, knowing what 
was happening in Belmont Street They waited, not- 
withstanding heavy rain at times, till eleven o'clock 
to catch me, expecting I would return with Mr. Web- 
ster. That Mr. Webster would have been badly 
handled had they caught him there can be no doubt ; 
as for myself, if either this mob or that at the Trades 
Hall had got hold of me I should probably not be 
writing this narrative As the hour approached at 
which it was expected we should arrive, the excite- 
ment of the crowd grew in intensity. About this time 
a cab drove up. * With a shout the mob rushed at it 
At last they had their prey. But no : it was a fish- 
curer named Christie and his wife, who lived near by ! 
A brother Imperialist 1 He was let free. At about ten 
o'clock it was given out that we were not returning 
that night, but the crowd did not disperse till eleven 
o'clock, and, as I have related, when I arrived half an 
hour later there were still a few Imperialists, past 
whom I walked to the front door. The police remained 
on guard 

This was on the Sunday night " On Monday night," 
writes Mr. Webster to me, "the miscreants returned 
with stones, but were scared by the police on the 
watch. We were warned that an attack was likely to 
be made last night (the day being celebrated as the 
Queen's Birthday), and I was ordered to remain in- 
doors. About midnight, a hundred or so of tipsy 
youths, headed by Grey — ^who figured in the Hall on 
Sunday night — came roaring up to the house, halted, 
hooted, and sung patriotic songs. I looked at them 
through the blind as they moved about. The police 
accompanied them, and the men on the watch inside 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 365 

our gate were on the alert One stone was thrown at 
the window where I stood, but it struck the lintel and 
did no harm. The leader called for me to come out to 
discuss, but I took no heed. In a few minutes they 
retired. I have managed to keep calm, but Mrs 
Webster is in a very nervous condition. SBe is, as you 
would observe, highly stnmg, and easily affected by 
terror. I fear she will never recover from the shock of 
Sunday evening.* Last night's attack renewed the 
palpitation, and she can hardly move about to-day. 
You will see by the papers that several citizens have 
suffered badly. It is the wickedest thing I have ever 
seen carried through. The authorities are apparently 
conniving at the whole thing, and will make no prose- 
cutioa" 

The papers of the 21st contained the following 
letter from Dr. Gordon Beveridge, 82, Crown Street, 
who had merely attended the meeting, and was *' sup- 
posed to hold pro-Boer views " : — 

" (To the Editor of the Evening Express,) 
"Sir, 

"I write to you under feelings of the very 
strongest indignation. I am not a party man in this 
war question, and I have no connection direct or in- 
direct with to-night's war meeting. Yet some mis- 
creants have attacked my house and smashed my 
windows. I have illness in the house, and the patient 
is now passing from one faint into another as the 
results of the alarm. I trust the citizens of Aberdeen 

* (Note added in July, 1901.) Under date May, 1901, 
Mr. Webster writes to me that Mrs. Webster has not yet 
recovered, and probably never will be her old self again. 



366 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

will most strongly resent this vile ruffianism which is 
at present masquerading under the guise of patriotism. 

" Yours, etc, 

" A. T. Gordon Beveridgr. 
"May 20th, 1900/' 

One might have thought this would have satisfied 
the cowardly students, but there appears to be no limit 
to the depths of degradation of which they are capable 
when fuU of the Imperialist spirit Shortly after ten 
o'clock next morning, the students, after attendance at 
the infirmary and their classes, went down to the 
Aberdeen Dispensary, Guest Row, where Dr. Beve- 
ridge was in his room attending to his patients, while 
a large number of other patients were waiting in the 
hall to be attended to by him and the other doctors. 
The students came on, shouting and singing " Onward 
Christian Soldiers," and proceeded to attack Dr. 
Beveridge, whom they styled "Kruger." Calling in 
the assistance of several other doctors, he proceeded 
to defend himself, using chairs as barricades, against 
which they leant, to prevent the students from break- 
ing La But the students seized a form, and, using it 
as a battering-ram, smashed the door to bits, knocked 
it off its hinges, scattering the fragments about the 
floor. The patients — many of them women and 
children — ^fled in terror. Mrs. Bleedie, wife of the 
dispenser, who bravely attempted to prevent the 
students smashing the place with the forms, was 
seized by these Brave "Christian Soldiers," mauled 
about, and her dress torn, till at last she managed to 
escape. The appearance of the police put an end to 
the proceedings. The students marched off in a pro* 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 36; 

cession singing " patriotic songs/' Not one of them 
was arrested. 

But the Imperialists had not done with Dr. Beve- 
ridge yet The same evening at about 8.30 he was 
observed on the top of a tram car and pursued-^the 
crowd rapidly increasing. He alighted at Bon Accord 
Street, when he was pelted with filth by a howling 
crowd. Proceeding along Langstane Place he got 
into a cab, after which the surging mob ran, but were 
soon out-distanced. He was besmeared with mud 
and filth, but escaped bodily harm by racing away in 
the cab, and by the fact that the police arrested one 
person, which distracted the attention of the mob. It 
but remains to be said that Dr. Beveridge had taken 
no public part in the agitation against the war, and was 
not in favour of the independence of the Republics. 

Equally unreasonable, equally cowardly, equally 
illegal, and equally uimoticed by the authorities was 
the students' attack on Professor Hein, Lecturer in 
German at the Aberdeen University. Mr. Hein had 
been twenty years in Aberdeen. The mere fact that 
he is German seems to have decided the students to 
attack hiuL 

In the first place, as he entered the quadrangle of 
Marischal College on Monday afternoon to proceed 
to his class-room, the medical students, thoroughly 
organised and in pursuance of a plan of premedi- 
tated attack, greeted him with loud yells, and then 
pelted him with peasemeal and eggs until he was a 
mass of filth. The students, niunbering two hundred, 
bravely kept up the attack on this solitary man until 
he found shelter in the Nortfi Tower. Then the 
Sacrist appeared and endeavoured to quell the rioti 



368 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

but he, too, was pelted until he had to retire. Mr. Hein 
divested himself of his overcoat, which had been quite 
ruined, and proceeded to his class-room; and the 
Sacrist at once bolted the door of the Tower. The 
students then seized a heavy form, and, using it as a 
battering-ram, started to break their way in. Three 
blows had been delivered, when the Sacrist opened it 
to reason with the mob. He was pelted at once, his 
wife who was behind him also suffering. Rushing 
forward, the students made for the Tower, and about 
forty chai^d up the staircase to Mr. Hein's class- 
room. Then the Sacrist succeeded in bolting the door 
again. This shut in the forty, which had a quieting 
effect on those outside, who did not further batter the 
door. The forty found Mr. Hein's room locked ; and 
before they could take any steps to break it in, Mr. 
D. R. Thom, Secretary of Senators, appeared on the 
stairs. The students now thought of flight, but their 
retreat was cut off. General consternation followed ; 
being cowards they went to pieces, and Mr. Thom took 
down the names of all but a few who ignominiously 
wriggled through a couple of small windows and 
rushed in terror away. 

But the students had not proved themselves men 
enough yet In the evening a large body of them, 
thoroughly organised and armed with missiles, dan- 
gerous and offensive, attacked the private residence 
of Mr. Hein at 2, Rubislaw Terrace, at about a quarter 
past ten, when they could be cowards without much 
fear of recognitioa Approaching the house quietly, 
they opened the door and poured in a continuous 
stream of eggs and peasemeaL Then, retiring towards 
the other side of the street for safety, they bombarded 
the place with stones, some of a large size. Mrs. and 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 369 

Miss Hein were seated in the front room when the 
stones began to smash in, and might have been 
seriously injured but for the fact that Venetian blinds 
broke the force of the stones. The family had to 
retire to the back of the house for safety while the 
student crowd for about half an hour heaved stones, 
potatoes, etc, at the house. Every window in the 
dining room was smashed, many in the drawing room, 
and some upstairs. The police — who had at once 
been telephoned for — arrived about half an hour after 
the assault had begun, by which time the students had 
dispersed, imrecognised. No arrests were made, I 
believe, nor was anything done by the authorities. 

I have given these three instances of Imperial ruf- 
fianism out of a great number. The students were the 
chief oflFenders ; they simply ran riot ; they terrorised 
the place in the most open way. Their cowardly and 
caddish conduct was apparently connived at by the 
authorities : their conduct was called patriotic \>y the 
Press: the pampered darlings of the middle classes 
became heroes in the performance of acts which every 
man and gentleman will repudiate with honest in- 
dignation. 

The meeting Having been got up by the Social 
Democratic Federation, the Socialists had to endure 
a special measure of persecution, both because they 
were Socialists and because they condemned the war. 
They attached the whole responsibihty for the ex- 
cited state of public opinion to the incitements to 
outrage and disorder by a section of the local Press. 
This they formally placed on record. The manner in 
which they were persecuted with impunfty, both as 

9 A 



3;o THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

private individuals and as a body, was shameful. 
Several members had to be constantly under the pro- 
tection of the police. They are, however, a very 
brave and persistent people, animated with an enthu- 
siasm for the cause of the workers and a detestation 
of capi-talism and militarism. 

As capitcdism and militarism were rampant — capi- 
talism being behind the war, and using militarism to 
carry out its far-reaching schemes — and as the 
Socialists as a body were the only orgfanised section 
of the people opposed to them, they came in for a full 
measure of persecution. 

They determined to hold their usual afternoon open 
air meeting on the Sunday after the meeting. The 
Chief Constable advised that, if the meeting were 
held, it should take place in Castle Street, where the 
speakers would not be in danger of the dock, and 
where they would be closer to the police headquarters. 
The meeting was almost at once broken up by the 
mob, who attacked it fiercely, wishing to capture the 
leaders, especially Mr. James Hardie. An inspector 
and three policemen appeared, but were unable to do 
anything effective. Then a sergeant and half a dozen 
more came and aided the others in trying to shield 
the Socialists and get them to the police office 
for safety. But the crowd had become very dense and 
very angry. One of the Socialists was seized, and 
was being hurried away to the dock when he was 
rescued by some constables. 

Meanwhile, amid loud cheers and hooting, they were 
struck and pelted with stones and other missiles and 
filth until at length, one after another, they were got 
to the police office. The mob waited about for nearly 
an hour, and then began to disperse. Some people, 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 371 

however, went off in search of any stray Socialist, and 
hunted through the neighbouring streets. One was 
chased into Mealmarket Street, where he had to take 
refuge in a house, the windows of which the mob 
immediately broke with stones. A cab was rushed 
upon and stopped, and its inmates examined by these 
ferocious creatures. Later, three of the Socialist 
leaders, Hardie, Smith, and Gordon, endeavoured to 
escape from the police ofifice, but had not gone far 
when they were recognised by a number of boys, who 
at once raised the hue and cry, with the result that a 
large crowd gathered who cruelly mauled, spat upon, 
and covered the three men with filth of various kinds. 
They at length managed to get back to the police 
of6ce. 

I give an extract from the Journal of the 28th of 
May, a Tory paper much given to minimise the ruffian- 
ism of " patriots " and Imperialists : — 

"The scene inside the office when the rescued 
Socialists arrived was remarkable. One had his coat 
torn up the back and the lining hanging in tatters, 
another had his cheek cut, the blood flowing from it, 
having, according to his statement, been struck with 
a stone ; and others were to be seen busily engaged 
rubbing the mud, etc, off their clothes with pieces of 
paper or handkerchiefs. ' Comrade ' Smith, whose 
address had been cut short, had been tripped up from 
behind in his passage through the crowd to Lodge 
Walk, the result being that he fell heavily on his face, 
and was considerably stunned. 'Comrade* Hardie 
escaped with a few hard knocks, which did not seem 
to have done much damage, but his clothes were very 
much bespattered. He declared that he could point 
out two of his companions in Messrs. Hall, Russell 

a A2 



372 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

and Compan/s yard who had been fighting against 
him, and that the manager of the yard ought to have 
them dismissed. Mr. Hardie said the crowd had 
behaved very badly towards him and his companions» 
throwing filth, brickbats, stones, muck, and rice, and 
spitting upon them. As evidence of the spitting he 
showed his coat, and said his heart had nearly turned 
sick when he saw horse manure being thrown at him. 
*The game would not be worth the candle,' he re- 
marked, 'if we were not getting some good men by 
our teaching.' Mr. Hardie also said he thought he 
would go to Dundee, and would hft his tools on 
Tuesday morning. He was not to remain longer in 
Aberdeea" 

The same evening a crowd of a good many 
thousands attacked the Social Democratic Federation 
Club Rooms in Castle Street Chief Constable 
Wyness, Inspector Buchan, and a considerable body 
of police were present, but the windows were broken. 
The members could not escape tmtil after eleven 
o'clock, when a force of two dozen police escorted 
them across the street through the now somewhat dim- 
inished crowd. There was cheering and hooting, while 
missiles were freely thrown, a lady in the party being 
among those struck. They were taken to the Police 
Office. The mob still tried to get at them, but the police 
barred the way up Lodge Walk. The imfortunate 
Socialists, whose leaders, as the Journal says, "had 
been besieged for the better part of the day," were 
kept in the police office until the bulk of the crowd 
had dispersed, when they slipped quietly out, and, by 
a clever tactical manoeuvre planned by tiie police, suc- 
ceeded in escaping. 

Notwithstanding all this^ I believe no arrests were 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 373 

made. It would appear that, in the eyes of the 
authorities, "pro-Boers" and "Socialists" were fair 
game, and were thus given over to the multitude to 
be tortured with impunity. There was no justice for 
the minority. 

The newspapers were responsible for much of the 
disgrace. The Journal referred to the "plucky band 
of citizens" who caused the riot in the hall, and to 
the howling, gigantic mob in the streets, which 
wrecked houses and assaulted people in a most 
cowardly manner, as " the magnificent muster of citi- 
zens." It justified the demonstration; and said "it 
would be a very unwise proceeding on the part of 
the University authorities " (there was apparently no 
danger from the civic authorities) "to resort to ex- 
treme measures against the students." Well might 
three students (giving their initials) write from Mari- 
schal College to the Express thanking that paper for 
the support accorded to them, and expressing the re- 
solve to " stamp out " the " pro-Boers." 

The professed Tory papers laid the blame largely 
upon the Social Democratic Federation and the 
Trades Council, but the Free Tress well said that 
Professor James Bryce (whom it opposed) would have 
fared no better had he come and attempted to address 
the people under the local Liberal Association. That 
he would have been badly mobbed is an absolute cer- 
tainty. Socialism was not to blame; Leicester, 
Scarborough, and other places show this. Neither 
does the fact that this was a public meeting explain 
the occurrences. At Scarborough the meeting was not 
even a ticket meeting ; it was a private function, the 
guests being there by the personal invitation of a 
private individual. Here, as elsewhere, the local 



374 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

aathorities tacitly condoned the ruffianism, and thus 
encouraged it : they knew they had the Tory Cabinet 
behind them, for fiad not Mr. Balfour paUiated it in 
Parliament? Here, as elsewhere, an untruthful Im- 
perialist Press had misinformed the people, and then 
excited them to such a state that mob rule resulted. 



CHAPTER XXVI. 

OLD CUMMOCK AND AYR, 2IST-24TH MAY. 

I drove down to the railway station at Aberdeen 
on Monday morning, the 21st May, and took train 
for Old Cummock a little after ten o'clock. Several 
police tinder an officer were there to see me safely 
off. Some students, thinking I might leave by that 
train, were on the platform, and they and other Im- 
perialists, including the newspaper boys, booed me 
the few minutes I was in my carriage before the train 
started. But there were not enough to make them 
formidable, and the police guarded the carriage door. 
The train steamed out amidst a final chorus of boos 
and hoots, and thus I saw and heard the last of Aber- 
deen in the Scotland I had once so loved and ad- 
mired 

I was due to speak at Huddersfield next evening, 
but wished to spend a quiet day with Mr. J. Keir 
Hardie at his house in Old Cummock, Ayrshire. I 
arrived there late in the afternoon, and, accompanied 
by Mr. Hardie's little son, walked down to Loch- 
norris, Mr. Hardie's house, the boy pointing out 
objects of interest on the way, especially the graves 
of the murdered Covenanters. I have always had a 
leaning to fighting minorities, and an active sympathy 
with persecuted or unrepresented persons or classes 
and subject races. I had now experienced, in a com- 
paratively small way, something of what undeserved 
persecution means. With the most intense love for 

( 375 ) 



376 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

England in my heart, with the most unselfish desires 
for her good, I had been hunted like a criminal The 
graves of the persecuted and murdered Covenanters 
had a meaning for me now much intenser than before, 
and I could not help contrasting them with their 
descendants. They were the Scotch Boers, and there 
were giants in those days, just as there are in South 
Africa to-day. Only the little peoples are the great 
peoples. 

Mr. Keir Hardie, the head of the Independent 
Labour Party, Editor of the Labour Lender^ is a re- 
markable man. When a boy of seven, he went to 
work in a coal mine, where he was employed for four 
years opening and shutting a draught-gate in one of 
the passages. At eleven years of age he went to work 
with the pick-axe, and was a coal miner for eleven 
years. While a miner he read all he could get to 
read, in so far as his time allowed, reading at meal 
times and in every spare moment His application 
and determination may be gauged by the fact that 
while a miner he taught himself shorthand. His 
method was to blacken light-coloured flat stones with 
the smoke of his lamp, and then scratch the shorthand 
characters on them during meal times. He is a very 
well-read man, especially in political economy and 
Scottish poetry, and a writer and speaker of con- 
siderable force At 35 he was elected M.P., an ofiice 
he held for five years, when he was thrown out I 
am glad to see he has just been returned for Merthyr. 
The Welshmen have had the honour of placuig in 
Parliament one of its most useful members. He is 
now (1900) forty-five years old. He has a nice house 
at Cummock, where, thanks largely to Mrs. Keir 
Hardie's warm hospitality and to the delightfully sin- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 377 

cere and refined atmosphere of the household, I 
spent three very happy days. 

Early on Tuesday morning (22nd May), after con- 
sultation with Mr. Keir Hardie, I wired to the places 
where I was to have spoken, cancelling the meetings ; 
and during the day wrote fully explaining my reasons. 
These places were Huddersfield,* Rochdale, Leicester, 
Sheffield, and Leeds. This course of action was in 
accordance with my resolve when I left London ; and 

* At Huddersfield excellent arrangements had been made 
by the local branch of the South African Conciliation Com- 
mittee for a meeting* to be held on the 22nd May in the 
Friendly and Trade Societies' Hall, at which I was to speak 
on the " Conditions of a Durable Peace in South Africa/' 
It was a ticket meeting, for which over seven hundred tickets 
had been issued, and arrangements had been made with the 
Chief Constable for a large body of police. But the news 
of the relief of Mafeking made the meeting impossible; 
Huddersfield, like the rest of the nation, went mad, even 
though it had a paper^ the Examiner, which had consis- 
tently and uncompromisingly denounced the war; indeed, 
its Editor, Mr. Joseph Woodhead, was Chairman of the 
local branch of the South African Conciliation Committee. 

The arrangements which the Imperialists had made to 
wreck the meeting and assault the speakers came to liffht 
after the abandonment of the meeting. It appears that 
after " celebrating " the relief of Mafekmg on the Saturday 
(i8th May), a number of Imperialists met and arranged the 
following plan of campaign: Their forces were to be 
divided into four sections. Section No. i, armed with rotten 
eggs and other missiles, was to be stationed in the street 
by which the hall was entered, to prevent people from 
entering the Hall. Eggs were specially imported by train 
for this purpose, the local supply not being sufficient for 
these Imperial requirements. Section No. 2 was to upset 
Mr. Woodhead's carriage, in which he and I were to drive 
to the Hall, at the comer of the street leading to the Hall, 
and attack us, especially myself. Section No. 3 was to 

froceed in two lots, one to break the windows of the 
"xamintr office, the other to break those of Mr. Wood- 
head's house. Section No. 4 was to proceed to Mr. John 
A. Robson's house and do the same there. 






3;8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

the mad state of the country over the relief of Mafe- 
king amply justifiedi and indeed imperatively deman- 
ded it 



Having done this, it was my intention to have left 
for London the same day; but as Mr. Keir Hardie 
and I were discussing Bums at breakfast, noting how 
I loved the great Scotsman, he said he was sorry I was 
leaving so soon ; Ayr was near by, and if I would stay 
over the day he would take me there and show me the 
cottage where Bums was bom, and other interesting 
spots associated with the poet's life. Against my 
better judgment, I consented. I felt I should be 
recognised, with unpleasant results. The danger of 
recognition was increased in the company of a man 
so well known as Mr. Keir Hardie ; but the desire to 
see Ayr overcame me — it was worth the risk, so I 
decided to go. 

Before we reached Ayr I was recognised. On arriv- 
ing at the railway station there, we at once took a 
conveyance and drove away. The first object that 
attracted my attention was the fine bronze statue of 
Bums, of which Mr. Keir Hardie told an instructive 
story. Some time back a Biuns celebration was held 
at Ayr. The authorities of the place and many others 
repaired to the statue, where speeches were to be 
made. In the procession were a number of peasants 
and working men arrayed for the occasion in cos- 
tumes similar to that which the peasant Bums himself 
had worn. The local magnates and their friends en- 
tered the enclosure round the statue, but the peasants 
in Bums's costume were not allowed to enter: they 
were drawn up outside ! " Why, man/' aptly said one 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 379 

of these mecii " tBe/d keep Bums himself out if he 
were here!'* 

Then we drove along the road Tam o' Shanter rode 
that famous night. Is there a more famous road in 
the world? Bums's cottage stands just off the road. 
We entered, and saw the room and the bed (a recess 
in the wall) in which he was bom, and bought some 
souvenirs. The house and the room are very like that 
of a Dutch "bijwoner."* A village has grown up 
around it now. In Bums's day it was in the country. 
After sundry vicissitudes (it was once an ale-house) 
it was purchased by the public; and it is now pre- 
served and revered as the most sacred spot in Scot- 
land. A little distance further along the road is Kirk 
AUoway, a small one-roomed ruin surrounded by 
graves, among them those of Bums's father and 
mother. From there we walked down past the monu- 
ment — a hideous affair, after the Greek. It should 
have been the statue of a working man, with the im- 
mortal couplet inscribed on it : — 

" The rank is but the guinea stamp : 
The man's the gowd for a* that." 

Then we came to the *'brig," over which "Meg" 
carried "Tam." Standing at the "Key Stane," we 
vied with each other in recalling couplets from the 
poem. Below, "Doon" poured "all his floods" — a 
quiet Uttle stream with softly wooded banks. The 
bridge is very picturesque. A lump came into my 
throat as "Klaas Gezwint en zijn Paert" rushed 

* A **bijwaner" (pronounced "bay-vohncr"), literally a 
"by-dweller/' is the poorest class of Dutch. ^Bijwoners" 
live on the farms of the richer farmers and assist in the 
farming operations and do odd jobs. They often have a 
few head of live stock. 



38o THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

through my mind, and I thought of the gallant, 
high, souled, and generous Reitz far away in our 
South Africa. 

*' Voor jij wat lus het om te draai 
Wil ik maar net een woordje raai — 
Gedink aan Klaas Gezwint zijn paert ; 
En vraag jouself : Waar is hoar staert? "* 

Crossing the old bridge, we walked along the bank 
and came back over the new (me. Then we entered 
the vehicle and drove into the town, where we 
alighted. We walked along and saw the "Twa 
Brigs " over the River Ayr, and crossed both of them. 
Then, passing the Wallace monument, we went into 
the *• Shanter Tavern," a little upstairs room, where 
are shown the chairs (duplicates, I presume, for the 
originals are iii the little museum at the cottage) in 
which '' Tam " and '' Soutter Johnny " sat and drank 
their famous drinks : — 

" Tam lo'ed him like a vera brither, 
They had been fou' for weeks thegither." 

It is about two miles from the tavern to the bridge 
over the Doon, and that was Tarn's ride. At that 

* His Honour, F. W. Reiu, State Seonetarv of the 
South African Republic, who, when offered the rresidency 
of the Orange Free State, in turn offered it to Sir Georee 
Grey, is a great lover of Bums, many of whose poems he 
has translated with marvellous felicity into the " Taal ''—none 
more successfully than " Tam o' Slianter,'' of which he has 
^ven a free rendering under the title, ^ Klaas Gezwint en 
zijn Paert'' (Klaas Gezwint and his Horse). As far as 
<* klaas Gezwint" goes, it is, I think, to one who under- 
stands the Taal, as good as some piarts of ^ Tam o' Shan- 
ter." The above four lines correspond to the concluding 
lines of Bums's poem. No translation can possibly convey 
any idea of th^ tun of Mr. Reitz's lines. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 381 

time, I am told, there was no town, only two small 
thatched cottages. 

When we reached the railway station it was evi- 
dent not only that I was known, but that a knot of 
men were waiting for me. At once a young man in 
leggings ran along the platform, and told some porters 
I was a " Boer," and as I came up the platform a knot 
of men gathered together and scowled at me, and 
gave three defiant cheers for Mafeking. However, I 
ignored them, and walked along past them, while with 
imdisguised curiosity they feasted their eyes on the 
ogre. Not a friendly curiosity I The train soon moved 
ofiF, when lo! both the fore and back wheels of my 
carriage exploded loud fog signals. Then there was 
some booing, and Ayr was left behind Shame on the 
town of Bums I I remember feeling glad he was lying 
quiet in his grave, and was spared the shame and 
insult of it all.* When we got to Mauchline Station, 
Mr. Keir Hardie thought it better to take a cab, to 
throw the Imperialist horde off the scent So we 
drove to Old Cummock, a distance of six miles, pas- 
sing through Mauchline on the way, and seeing the 
"Poosie Nancy" tavern, the scene of the carouse of 
the *' Jolly Beggars." On reaching Cummock, it was 
decided it would be better for me not to go on at 
once, as, if it were known I was on the train, there 
was a likelihood that a small mob might be whipped 
up at some station to give me a "reception." That 
may seem to some people when this is published to 
be an overstatement; it will not seem so to anyone 

* Here's freedom to him that wad read, 
Here's freedom to him that wad write. 
There's nane ever fear'd that the truth should be heard, 
But they wham the truth wad indite. 

—-Bums, 



382 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

who knew the state England and Scotland were in at 
the time, and the extraordinary persecution I was 
subjected to. So, having some writing to do, I re- 
mained at Cummock till the 24th, and finished an 
article I had promised for the North American Review 
on " The Settlement After the War," which I handed 
to Mr. Leveson Gower on my arrival in London. 



CHAPTER XXVII. 

THE WOMEN'S DEMONSTRATION, I3TH OF JUNE; 

AND OTHER MATTERS. 

The meetings at Rochdale and the other centres 
having, perforce, been abandoned, I left Cummock on 
the evening of the 24th for London, and went on to 
Limpsfield. 

On the 7th of June I^went with a friend up the 
Thames, and saw for the first time the country reaches 
of that river which has had so wonderful an effect upon 
the world. We took train to Reading, and then went 
three hours by steamboat up to Wallingford. It was 
lovely; slightly showery at times. But oh for the 
veld! 

On the 8th, still ill, I attended a meeting of work- 
ing folk near Euston Station, dining first at 20, Somer- 
set Terrace with Miss Neal and some of her friends 
who are devoted to the good of the poor. After dinner 
we went down to the club rooms, half expecting a mob, 
though all had been kept very secret There was no 
mob, however, and we had a most successful meeting. 
I was introduced to some real stalwarts, chief among 
them a young girl who worked in a factory. She was 
the only " pro-Boer " among 200 girls at the factory, 
but she held on her way with "good-humoured in- 
flexibility." At the relief of Mafeking the Imperialists 
had crowded around her, shouting and waving flags 
over her head, but it had no effect upon her. I felt 
it an honour to know her. I think I have seldom seen 
a finer example of good-natured, yet iron, determina- 

( 383 ) 



384 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

tioa A few Imperialists were present at the meeting. 
As an instance of how ill-informed they almost in- 
variably are, one of them asked me whether it was 
true that an Outlander could not walk down the streets 
of Johannesburg without the Boers spitting in his face. 
When I told him it was a he, he was very indignant, 
and said he had it from two reUable men whom he 
knew. I pointed out that Johannesburg was a town of 
Outlanders, and that if a Boer did such a thing it would 
be pretty well at the risk of his life, and that to one 
who knows the Boer the idea of his spitting at any- 
one is quite comic in its absurdity. Such ignorance is 
not confined to obscure and unknown individuals. A 
leading Scotch paper (the Glasgow Herald^ I think) 
sapiently asked in a leading article how it was that 
grass was growing in the streets of Johannesburg if 
what I said were true. That settled the question! 
Why, there was as much grass in the streets of Johan- 
nesburg when the war broke out as there is in the 
streets of London. And a leading light of the Liberal 
party, an eminent Q.C., said to one of the best-in- 
formed and staunchest M.P.*s who opposed the 'War 
that one of the chief things that influenced him in 
coming to a decision to justify the war was the lan- 
guage question, as the Taal afforded no scope for 
thought and expression. He was under the impres- 
sion that educated Dutchmen spoke a special language 
called the TaaL The M.P. to whom he said this 
asked me what was the reply to make. Neither 
seemed to know that every educated Dutchman has 
an educated Englishman's command of English, and 
speaks in addition a Dutch lang^uage which gives com- 
plete scope for even the most subtle complexity of 
thought The Taal is simply a conversational dialect 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 385 

On the 13th of June was held the Women's Great 
Demonstration in the Queen's Hall, Langham Place, 
W. This, as I have pointed out, was the outcome of 
the meeting at Lord Hobhouse's, at 15, Bruton Street, 
Berkeley Square, on the 21st March, Miss Emily Hob- 
house being the chief mover. It was at first proposed 
that I should speak, but this was abandoned (an aban- 
donment which I urged) on two grounds — first that I 
should probably bring a huge, mad mob ; second, that 
it was best to make it entirely a Woman's Demon- 
stration. Even when this was decided there were 
considerable fears of rowdyism ; many men would not 
let their women folk attend without their protection. 
To kill two birds with one stone, some Hundreds of 
men were enrolled as stewards. There would have 
been a terrific fight if the mob had attacked. But 
the Imperialists did not come; under the circum- 
stances, it would have been a mistake if they had. 

The meeting was a magnificent success. The great 
hall was crowded in the heart of London by women 
who came from all parts of the land, and who were 
enthusiastically tmanimous. 

It was held under the auspices of the South African 
Conciliation Committee, and was in favour of " A Just 
Settlement in South Africa." Mrs. Leonard Courtney 
took the chair at 8 p.m. She was supported by The 
Marchioness of Ripon, The Lady Coleridge, The 
Lady Farrer, The Lady Hobhouse, The Lady 
Mary Murray, The Lady Agatha Russell, The 
Lady Constance Shaw-Lefevre, Lady Grove, Lady 
Bume- Jones, Mrs. Arthur Acland, Mrs. Alfred Booth, 
Mrs. S. A. Bamett, Mrs. Stanton Blatch, Mrs. Thomas 
Burt, Mrs. Frederic Harrison, Mrs. Cobden Unwin, 
Mrs. Lunn, and many others. The speakers included 

2 B 



386 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Mrs. Bryce, Mrs. Byles, Mrs. Tomkinson, Mrs. Annie 
Hicks, Miss I. O. Ford, Miss Ellen Robinson, Mrs. C. 
P. Scott, and Miss Hobhouse, and the speeches were 
of a hig^ order. Resolutions condemning the war» 
condemning the suppression of Free Speech, protest- 
ing against the extinction of the Republics, and ex- 
pressing sympathy with the women of the Republics* 
were carried unanimously amid a scene of extra- 
ordinary enthusiasm. This meeting was one of the 
most impressive and important held during my stay 
in England, yet only one paper properly reported it. 
the Manchester Guardian^ most of the papers dis- 
missing it very casually. 

I was to speak at several other meetings, small and 
large : at Mrs. Bradb/s (Professor James Sully, LL.D., 
in the chair) on the 1 5th June ; before the Transvaal 
Committee on the 20th; at Leicester on the 21st; 
but I became too ill to attend them, and had to recu- 
perate quietly at Limpsfiield. I was also due to speak 
again at Manchester on the 2gtht but at the last 
moment, to my infinite regret, was prevented I also 
spent a few days with the Ashton Jonsons, at their 
delightful country house at Batt's Comer, near Bent- 
ley Station, Hants, the most exquisite little house I 
ever entered — simple and artistic — situated in what 
to me was the prettiest scenery I saw in England, and 
where the nightingales sang divinely. 

On the 3rd of July, I attended a conference on the 
Native Races in South Africa at the Westminster 
Palace Hotel, the Bishop of Hereford in the diair. 
This war was said by the Imperialists to be in the 
interests of the natives. The falsity of this was proved 
by the fact that only about 100 people in the largest 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 387 

city in the world were present, and that they were all» 
or nearly all, opponents of the war. I spoke briefly 
in response to the Bishop's invitation to do so, before 
the meeting was thrown open to the general public 

On the 7th I sailed for South Africa. Sir Alfred 
Milner had cabled a month before that within two 
months Outlanders could return to the Rand, and, 
though I very much doubted the correctness of his 
forecast, it was essential that I should be on the spot 
in case return to the Rand were possible. I felt, too, 
that what I could do had pretty nearly been done. I 
saw that South Africa had now to work out its own 
salvation ; that England no longer loved freedom but 
mastery, and that an appeal to the majority was 
hopeless when based solely upon moral principles. 
Great Britain did not want to hear the truth nor to 
do what was morally right It had become clear to me 
that the lack of honour among British poUticians (with 
a few noble exceptions) and the dense ignorance of 
the mass on affairs outside the British Isles, made 
them absolutely unsuitable to govern an empire, and 
that the one policy to be steadily kept in view and 
strenuously worked for was internal independence of 
South Africa. We must have Federation, not Im- 
perialism. With a heart breaking with sadness at the 
shattering of the ideals I had earnestly cherished 
about the British people, and bleeding over the awful 
crime being perpetrated in South Africa, and ^e 
cruel wrongs being done to my fellow South Africans, 
I sailed from Southampton, with much that had made 
hfe worth living gone out of my Ufe for ever. 



aBa 



CHAPTER XXVIII. 

VOYAGE TO SOUTH AFRICA. RECEPTION IN 

CAPE TOWN. 

Part. I. 

Imperialism on the High Seas. 

I sailed in the ** Dunvegan Castle " from Southamp- 
ton on the 7th July. I was to find that Imperi- 
alism was to follow me even on the high seas; but 
I was, on the other hand, to find for the only time in 
my experience that there were, among the Im- 
perialists, persons of suflBident character not to tolerate 
mob rule. 

When a few days out a meeting was, as usual, called 
by public notice in the Smoke Room to arrange for 
sports and other entertainments. I attended, and was 
elected to the Athletic Sports Committee. This 
Committee at once got to work and invited the second 
and third class passengers each to send two delegates. 
They did so, and we were an effective and thoroughly 
harmonious Committee. I was unanimously elected 
one of the judges for the Sports, and we soon had 
everything satisfactorily arranged. Two afternoons 
were to be devoted to sports, and on the evening of 
the first day of the sports a concert was to be held 
Among the passengers were six young doctors and 
twenty-six nurses, going out to (I think) t3ie Imperial 
Yeomanry. Lieut.-Col. Milne Redhead, of the Militia, 
was chairman of the Sports Committee, two of the 

( 388 ) 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 389 

doctors were joint secretaries, and Mr. Reunert, of 
Johannesburg, was chairman of the General Commit- 
tee, 

About a quarter of an hour before the sports began 
on the first day, one of the secretaries came to me in 
some consternation and said he wished to speak to 
me privately. We went away together, when he told 
me that he had received a strongly signed document 
from the second class passengers protesting against 
my taking any official part in the sports; they did 
not object to my being present unofficially, he said, 
but threatened to boycott the sports and generally 
make things unpleasant if I took any prominent part. 
They objected to my political views, of which I have 
no doubt they knew nothing. What was he to do ? 
asked the secretary. I replied that it was 
not a matter for me, but for the Committee, 
to decide. No, he said, he did not think 
so ; he had consulted with Mr. Reunert, the general 
chairman, who agreed with him that it was a matter 
for me to decide and not for the Committee. They 
were wrong, of course, but it was not for me to insist 
upon the obvious. I did not think the Committee, if 
called together, would have so decided, but it was not 
for me to say so. So I answered, that being the case, 
I would at once withdraw, and not even appear at 
the Sports. To show how the secretary misunder- 
stood things, I may mention that, while with the 
kindest intentions expressing the opinion that there 
was really no need for me to stay away entirely, as 
my mere presence would not create an uproar, he said 
he would not mention the matter to any one. I 
answered that I hoped he would blazon it over the 
ship. I was satisfied that the entirely wrong course 



390 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 



was beii^ pursueH in backing down to this terrorism, 
and I felt confident, from what I had seen of my 
fellow passengers, that there were men and women 
on board who would be no party to this proceeding. 
I went down to my cabin, and the first day's Sports 
were held When they were over, and we met at 
dinner, I found the first-class passengers rampant with 
indignatioa Unless the matter were put right at 
once, many of them were going not only to scratch for 
the Sports, but to abandon them entirely. That even- 
ing at the concert the doctor of the ship was exhibit- 
ing a phonograph which played and sang. On the pre- 
vious evening he had made it play '' Marching to Pre- 
toria," to the tune of the American Civil War song 
" Tramp, tramp, tramp, the Boys are Marching." After 
he had played several tunes, a loud voice from among 
the second-class passengers on one of the bridges 
shouted, " Play ' Marching to Pretoria '." The doctor 
waited until the interrupter had insisted several times 
and attracted everyone's attention, when he answered 
slowly and distinctly, "I am sorry we cannot have 
' Marching to Pretoria ' to-night, but we do not wish 
to mix up politics with our Sports." It was a most 
effective hit, and was cheered to the echa After 
breakfast next morning a meeting of the general 
committee was called which I, of course, did not 
attend. The Captain and the officers were there, and 
manly indignation found strenuous utterance. The 
fine old Captain was particularly outspoken, and he 
was backed solidly. The result was that the general 
committee, the second and third-class passengers be- 
ing present, unanimously deputed Lieut-CoL Milne 
Redhead to express their sincere regret at the insult, 
and to request me to act as referee of the Sports that 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 391 

afternoon. I did so, and everyfhmg went off without 
disturbance. 

It appears that a second-class passenger, a man 
named Mudge, from Kimberley, had been the moving 
spirit, and by dint of hard work had induced about 
forty-five of his fellow-passengers to sign the docu- 
ment The document had actually been handed to the 
secretaries without the second-class delegates' know- 
ledge. Mr. Mudge, in attemptii^ to carry his 
machinations further afield, met a most gentlemanly 
rebuff from the third-class. The third-class delegates 
were two men of the best type of British workii^ men 
— is there a better type of man in existence ? They 
heard what was being done and secured possession of 
the document, whereupon they called a meeting. 
Then one of them spoke and said the act was an un- 
manly one. That being the case, it was formally pro- 
posed, seconded, and carried, that the document be 
torn up and thrown into the sea, as was done forth- 
with. It was a fine thing : it was the act of gentle- 
men, done as gentlemen would do it 

Mr. Mudge came from Kimberley. The two men 
of the third class had not lived under the conditions 
of Rhodesian subjectioa 

I should say that up to the time of the Sfx>rts I 
had not said a word on the war or on politics. 

A i)aiagraph appeared in the Cape Times which 
eventually made a biggish round in the Press in South 
Africa and in England It stated that, being a ^ pro- 
Boer," I had not been tolerated, that the passengers 
had objected to my taking part in the Sports» and 
that in consequence I had had to retire. 

I give this trifling incident as showing the virulence 
of the Imperialist spirit 



392 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Part H. 
Reception in Cape Town. 

On the day of my arrival in Cape Town, I received 
the following letter : — 

" House of Assembly, Cape Town, 

" 24th July, 1900. 

" Dear Mr. Cronwright Schreiner, — 

"At a meeting to-day of the South 
African Parliamentary Party a unanimous wish was 
expressed that we, in the name of the members assem- 
bled, should meet you, to bid you welcome upon your 
return, and to express to you how much the work 
done by you in England, in what we believe to be 
the cause of conciliation and peace, is appreciated 
by all of us. 

"We unfortunately do not know what time the 
boat arrives, but we take this means of conveying to 
you the wishes of the meeting. 

" Faithfully yours, 

« H. C. Van Heerden, M.L.A 
" D. De Vos Rabie, M.L.A 
" J. H. Meiring Beck, M.L.A." 

And a few days later I received a letter from Mr. 
Mr. T. P. Theron, M.L.A, Chairman of Committees 
of the Legislative Assembly, and Chairman of the 
Afrikander Bond, asking me when the South African 
Party could meet me, and enclosing the following 
resolution: — 

"Resolutie aangenomen op een Vergadering van 
den Afrikander Partij in hare vergadering heden mor- 
gen, July 27, 1900. 

" Deze vergadering van leden van den Afrikander 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 393 

Partij in beide Huizen van Parkment wenscht hare 
hartelijk erkenning uit te spreken van den groote 
diensten door den Wei. Edele Heer Cronwright 
Schreiner aan Zuid Afrika onlangs bewezen door zijn 
onvermoeide hooggewaardeerde pogingen om den 
ware toedracht van zaken alhier voor het Britsche 
Publiek te stellen, en brengt hem hiermede hare harte- 
lijken dank toe voor de opoffering gemaakt door hem 
in belang van het herstel van vrede op rechtvaardige 
voorwaarden in Zuid Afrika. 

" Thos. p. Theron, 
" Voorzitter der Vergadering."* 

My meeting with the Party was held on the even- 
ing of the 1st August Mr. T. P. Theron, M.L.A, 
was in the chair, supported by the Hoa J. H. Hof meyr 
(" Onze Jan "), the Hon. J. W. Sauer, and the Hoa 
J. X. Merriman, there being present in addition 
nearly the whole of the Afrikander (South Afirican) 
Party. There is not the slightest doubt whatever 
that the members represented the attitude of the 
great majority of her Majesty's subjects in the Cape 
Colony. 

I take the following account (omitting my own 

* Translation. — '^Resolution passed at a meeting of the 
South African party at its meeting to-day, the 27th July, 
1900: — 

^ This meeting of members of the South African party in 
both Houses of Parliament wishes to give expression to 
its hearty acknowledgment of the great services recently 
done South Africa by Cronwright Schreiner, Esq., through 
his unwearied and highly valued endeavours to lay before 
the British public the true facts about matters here, and 
hereby expresses its hearty thanks to him for the sacrifices 
made by him in the interests of the restoration of peace on 
just conditions in South Africa. 

**Thos. p. Theron, 

Chairman of the Meeting.'' 



394 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

speech) fram the SauiA African News of the 3rd of 
August: — 

"Mr. Cronwright Schreiner and 
* Africanders. 

" Speech by Mr. Hof meyr. 

"On Wednesday night a meeting of Afrikander 
members of Parliament was held to pass a vote of 
thanks to Mr. Cronwright Schreiner for the services 
which he has rendered to South Africa by his speeches 
in England There was a full attendance of the 
Party. Mr. Theron acted as chairman. 

"Mr. Theron, in introducing Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner, said that some time ago, when it was 
decided to thank the latter for his manful efforts, it 
was decided to ask Mr. Cronwright Schreiner to be 
present and address the Party. They were glad to see 
that he had responded to the invitation, and extcipded 
a cordial welcome to him. Although not a member of 
Parliament, Mr. Cronwright Schreiner was no stranger 
to many of them, who had followed the course of 
events in England and had heard how he Bad fared in 
that country, where he had tried to explain matters to 
the British public They knew that Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner had not had any easy time of it in England 
—(laughter) — ^but he had returned safely ; and would 
give the meeting some account of his esqperiences. 

" Mr. Hofmeyr's Speech. 

" The Hoa J. H. Hofmeyr, rising amidst applause, 
said that as on many previous occasions he found 
himself led instead of leading. He had come to the 
meeting to show his respect to Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner, and without any idea of being called upon 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 395 

to say a word However, he bad been requested to 
move a motion, and he was not strong enough to 
refuse the request. The motion was one of cordial 
thanks to Mr. Cronwright Schreiner for the services 
he had rendered to the Afrikander Party, nay, to the 
Empire, by the gaOant fight he had made in England 
in the cause of truth, right and justice (Cheers.) 
He (Mr. Hofmeyr) spoke somewhat reluctantly, be- 
cause he was one of those who had been rather scepti- 
cal of the good which would result from the mission of 
either Mr. Cronwright Schreiner or of the deputation 
which recently left South African shores for England, 
for he was of opinion that the bulk of the British 
public was in a state of such hyper-sensitiveness that 
it was useless to argue with them on the war, and what 
had led up to it (Hear, hear.) You might as well 
argue with some people on Robben Island or at Val- 
kenberg.* He had felt that only those who had 
already been converted would listen to the mission- 
aries — those whom it was desired to convert would 
not attend the meetings Indeed, experience had 
shown that missionaries had rather a troubled and 
dangerous time of it — (laughter) — and he could there- 
fore the more highly appreciate the coturage which Mr. 
Cronwright Schreiner had displayed in having stuck 
to his guns so persistently and nobly. (Cheers.) 
Many of them, if they had had to experience the 
rough attention of the mob at Edinburgh or at Glas- 
gow, he (Mr. Hofmejnr) thought would at once have 
taken tickets for the homeward journey. (Laughter.) 
But Mr. Cronwright Sdureiner had done nothing df 



* Lepers are confined on Robben Island and lunatics at 
VaUcenoexig^. 



396 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

the kind, and perhaps some grains of good seed he 
had sown might bring forth fruit He (Mr. Hofmeyr) 
could not but think, however, that while truth was 
strong, ignorance and prejudice were sometimes quite 
as formidable. A few days after the murder of 
some soldiers in Cape Town by, as it was supposed, 
some Italians, a friend of his chanced to go into a 
Cape Town caf6 for a cup of tea, and there met an 
English officer, a Major, and evidently a newcomer, 
with whom he entered into conversation. The talk 
turned on the murder, and the officer was indignant 
to hear that the deed was ascribed to Italians. ' What,' 
he exclaimed excitedly, ' Italians I No, sir, they were 

not Italians — they were d Dutch Boers, whom 

your Prime Minister, that scoundrel Schreiner, who 
ought to be publicly hanged on the Parade, got to 
Cape Town sneakingly to murder the Queen's sol- 
diers I'* The man evidently spoke what he believed, 
and there were thousands as bigotedly ignorant as he. 
(Hear, hear.) Under such circumstances one might 
well doubt the use of sending deputations to England. 
He (Mr. Hofmeyr) sincerely hoped that a time would 
come when it would be possible to appeal 

FROM PHILIP DRUNK TO PHILIP SOBER. 

(Cheers.) Referring to the rebels, or alleged rebels, 
Mr. Hofmeyr said that he could not for a moment 
doubt but that most of these unfortunate men had 
been forced against their better judgment into the 
position they now occupied. (Hear, hear.) He had 
seen and spoken to several of the arrested and fugitive 
members of Parliament before they left for their seve- 
ral districts at the end of last Sesssion, and none of 
them then had the least idea of the intention to rebel 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 397 

There was, for instance, Mr. Ignaas van der Walt, 
who told him that he was going to his division to try 
and induce his constituents to remain loyal, even 
should the Free Staters invade the Colony. There 
was Mr. Jotham Joubert. Who, who knew that gentle- 
man, cotdd believe that he willingly became a rebel ? 
Then take the case of Rev. Mr. Schroeder, a truly 
God-fearing and Christian man, as everyone who 
knew him could testify — a man who had done so 
much for his people. He (Mr. Hofmeyr) believed that 
Mr. Schroeder had acted most unwisely, but with good 
intentions. (Hear, hear.) England should adopt a 
policy towards men such as these similar to that which 
she had adopted in Canada. (Hear, hear.) In that 
country people had been gravely ill with disloyalty, 
and England's statesmen applied a sedative medicine, 
with the result that they had been completely cured 
and become soundly loyal, so that to-day Canada was 
prepared to fight for the Empire against every country 
in the world, with the possible exception of France. 
Now, what was the case in this Colony at present? 
Here, to continue the figure of speech, was a people 
suffering from a minor complaint, from a mere cold in 
the head, and it was in the best interests of England 
to give that people the same treatment she had given 
Canada — a sedative, and not an irritant (Cheers.) 
People tried to justify ^ irritative policy by making 
a great to do about the ' Afrikander conspiracy.' To 
him, however, that * conspiracy ' was utterly unknovni 
— he had never heard of it before his Jingo friends 
invented or dreamt of it. (Laughter.) As reputed 
chief of the Bond — though that title really belonged 
to the chairman — he ought to have some knowledge 
of the affairs of that body, but he knew nothing about 



398 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

the distribution of Mausers or the sending of money 
by the Transvaal for Bond electioneering purposes. 
The Afrikander Party had fotight the recent elections 
with their own means, and little enough it had been. 
If the Transvaal had indeed sent any money, it had 
strayed into unknown pockets. (Hear, hear.) As a 
member of the Committee of Supervision on elections 
he could say that from his own knowledge the Party 
had received neither money nor rifles from the Repub- 
lics — (hear, hear) — and that the 'conspiracy' was a 
contemptible myth. That conspiracy must have in- 
deed been a curious one, seeing that the Bond Party 
in Parliament had given tangible proof of their loyalty 
to the British Crown. They had voted unanimously 
a large sum of money to the Imperial Navy — they had 
given the Navy carte blanche at Simons Bay. (Hear, 
hear.) Nay, more, they had elected their Prime 
Minister, a man who was an ImperiaUst to his finger 
tips» and who had been willing to involve the coun- 
try in war over the mudi-debated Drifts question. 
(Hear, hear.) The stigma which had been cast upon 
him he threw from him with contempt He esteemed 
Mr. Cronwright Schreiner because that gentleman had 
done much to vindicate our good name in England 
(Cheers.) 
" The meeting soon afterwards dispersed." 



CHAPTER XXIX. 

THE PEOPLE'S CONGRESS AT WORCESTER, 
CAPE COLONY, 6TH OF DECEMBER, igOO. 

While I was in England, a People's Congress had 
been held at Graa£E Reinet, at which delegates had 
been elected to go to England and lay the opinions of 
the majority of the white inhabitants of the Cape 
Colony before the people of Gieat Britain. These 
delegates landed in England the day before I sailed 
on my return journey to South Africa. After an 
experience in England and Scotland, which I hope 
may yet be published in pamphlet form, these Peace 
Delegates returned to the Colony. As the delegates 
had been elected by the people of the Colony, who had 
also subscribed to defray all their expenses, there was 
a widespread desire to hear their report in public So, 
after a little while, a Congress of those opposed to the 
war throughout the Cobny was sununoned to be held 
at Worcester. This was no sooner announced than 
the capitalist Press, especially the Caft Times and 
the Cape Argus, vehemently demanded that Martial 
Law, which at the time was in force in only a few 
border districts, should be proclaimed at Worcester, 
and the Congress prevented A considerable scate 
prevailed, it being supposed, so bereft were the Im- 
perialists of reason, that a general rising of Dutdi 
South Africans was about to take place ; some even 
thought that the Congress was to be merely a blind, 
and that it was really ** a gathering of the clans " to 
meet the famous General de Wet, who was coming 

( 399 ) 



400 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

down to organise a general rising 1 Martial law was 
not proclaimed, but the Cape Ministry did all it could, 
by attempting to prevent people from going to Wor- 
cester, to render the Congress abortive. The Com- 
missioner of Public Works, a Jingo follower of Mr. 
Rhodes, said he " did not consider it advisable " that 
such a meeting should be held, and so he did what he 
could by withholding railway facilities to render it a 
failure; in fact, railway facilities were so withheld 
that many who attended the Congress came in cattle 
trucks. But the people would not be prevented. 
Throughout the Colony the del^[ates were elected, 
and they and many others attended, overcoming every 
obstacle to be present The population of Worcester 
is about 6,000; it must have been trebled by those 
who attended the Congress Some of the delegates 
had to travel five days to reach Worcester and five 
days back; others came 20 miles by cart to the 
nearest railway station. 

My wife, Olive Sdireiner, and myself were among 
the delegates from Hanover (between De Aar and 
Naauw Poort). It is an hour and a half s drive from 
the Uttle town of Hanover to Hanover Road StatioiL 
As our train did not start till about 1.30 a.m, we did 
not leave the town till somewhat late in the evening. 
The drought broke up that day, and our drive was in 
the pitch dark, the glaring lightning and the delug- 
ing rain of an up-country thunderstorm. At Hanover 
Road we had to wait till 2 am. for our train A body 
of men from the Volunteer Forces that were guarding 
the railway bridge near by, and some Jingo Colonists 
and others living in the neighbourhoodi gathered 
on the platform at this unearthly hour, and, as 
the train steamed out, raised shouts of ''Three 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 401 

groans for Olive Schreiner!" "To Hell with 
Olive Scbreiner ! " 

This exemplifies the fact that the Imperial spirit in 
South Africa and in England and Scotland is singu- 
larly identical in its manifestations. 

Other delegates had to put up with otlier incon- 
veniences, insults, and annoyances at the hands both 
of civilians and the militeiry. As an example I give 
a letter which was addressed to 0ns Land. There 
is no doubt that the facts are as related It but re- 
mains to add that Richmond Road was not under 
Martial Law, and that the Cape Ministry took no 
notice of the outrage, so lost were they individually 
and collectively to all sentiments of manliness. 

The following is the typical letter that appeared in 
0ns Land, Cape Town, on the 20th December, in 
Dutch. I translate it, keeping as far as possible the 
racy colloquial spirit of the original 

" Richmond,* 

"nth December, 1900. 
" To the Editor, 

" Sir, — I read in your paper of the 8th instant 
about the People's Congress at Worcester, what 
trouble and sacrifice more than one had to go through 
to get there. Then you say that at Victoria West 
Road some people had to appear before fhe Captain 
in the night. I think that is a misimderstanding ; it 
was at Richmond Road, where I personally was pre- 
sent We arrived there at 8 o'clock in the evening, 
and, when the 10 o'clock train had gone by we were 

* Richmond is a village about three and a half hours 
(say twenty-one miles) from Richmond Road railway 
station. 

2 c 



402 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

warned by one of the khakis that we must go to our 
rooms and behave ourselves quietly there, and if any 
one of us strolled about he would be shot dead. So 
said, so done. At 12 o'clock in the night the door 
of our room was bombarded by armed khakis, who 
ordered us to dress at once and come outside, as the 
Captain wanted to see us. Guarded by fifteen men 
we went, in strong rain and wind, to Mr. Captain. 
There we had to stand in the rain and go in one by 
one. Then each of us was asked his name, the name 
of his farm, and through which post ofiEice his letters 
came, and then we were just driven away to be 
guarded outside by armed khakis, so that we should 
not gather together. So this went on for more than 
an hour. When this was over we were told that we 
could go back again to our rooms, and there we went 
before the armed khakis, who also guarded us that 
night, to our great annoyance and disturbance, for 
there was a noise of tramping till the morning. At 
last we were marched on to the train and conveyed, 
standing, to Worcester,* for there was no sitting room 
to be had. On arrival there we were well, yes, very 
well, and hospitably received. Thanks to the whole 
of Worcester for all its goodness. But what are we to 
see there ? There stand Maxims, horses and soldiers 
again ready for us. All this, however, was of no 
avail to hold us back. I will not write about the Con- 
gress ; that the reader can read in the paper. 

" We have had heavy rains : some dams are broken, 
and the vleis are under water. Everywhere damage 
has occurred to stock. One has lost 10, two others 



* From Richmond Road to Worcester is about eight hours 
by train. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 403 

20, and a third 30 and more, and Mr. Pienaar, 
Niekerksfontein, has, so I hear, lost over 200. 

" Your correspondent, 

" C. P. DU TlOT." 

The Congpress was an extraordinary gathering ; it 
was the most important, the most significant, and, out- 
side of Cape Town, the largest public meeting ever 
held in the Cape Colony. There were not less than 
10,000 people present. It indicated how thoroughly 
the whole country was stirred to its inmost depths. 
It was held in the open-air in a blue gum tree plan- 
tation, and a platform had been erected, around which 
the people, men and women, stood for four or five 
hours. The meeting began and ended with prayer 
and the singing of a psalm. The sipging was not pre* 
arranged; it was quite spontaneous. Tt was very 
impressive to hear the solemn and regular tuneful 
beats of the notes as they fell on the still air. And it 
is very remarkable that, no matter how big a Dutch 
Afrikander meeting is, it always sings in perfect tune 
and perfect time. But what was even more remarkable 
was the wonderful order that prevailed Here, 
throughout the whole day, in that large crowd, not 
only was there not a single drunken person, but there 
was no liquor drinking at alL There was not only not 
a single disorderly person, but there was not one dis- 
orderly remark or noise, not a whistle, not a cat-call 
even. All the persons there seemed animated by the 
same strong, quiet, self-contained determination. 
There was a religious solemnity over it all which 
showed that the current of feeling was " too strong for 
sound or foam." A magnificent race, these South 
Africans, these brothers of the heroic Republicans. 

ac a 



404 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Milner and the military had done something even 
worse than cause Martial Law to be proclaimed. In 
view of the Congress, the AustraUan and Canadian 
contingents, which were to have sailed for their homes 
on the 6th, were detained and sent to Worcester to 
overawe us. These " brother Colonists " were sent to 
Worcester with their rifles and Maxims and loads of 
ammunition. They pitched their tents on the edge 
of the tovoi on a small rise at the railway station, and 
were there entrenched, throwing up banks topped with 
sand-bags, over which frowned the Maxims and can- 
nons turned on us, and on the town. Thus we spoke 
under the muzzles of the guns, Maxims, and rifles of 
our ** brother Colonists!" However, the men and 
women gathered at Worcester were not to be scared 
by Maxims or anything else. We have been reared 
with rifles in our hands. It was curious and charac- 
teristic of our people that not only did they not refer 
to the loaded weapons in their speeches (except Dr. 
Kolbe, who pleasantly said we cared as Uttle for the 
Australian Maxims as for the Australian blue giuns 
around us), but they ignored them almost wholly, 
even in private conversation, treating the whole affair 
with a fine contempt So greatly did Milner and the 
authorities fear a rising that they actually turned the 
guns on the prisoners of war in Cape Town! As we 
were leaving in the afternoon, some of the Australians 
came to the Worcester Railway Station and expressed 
their disgust at the work they had been put to do. 

It was a pretty pass to have come to. We could 
not assemble, men and women, at a widely advertised 
public meeting in a district not under martial law, but 
we were denied the ordinary facilities of our railways, 
and had cannons and Maxims turned on us to intimi- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 405 

date us. And to crown the wickedness and madness 
of it all, Australians and Canadians were actually 
chosen for this Empire-wrecking work. Not only was 
it egregiously foolish to try to intimidate us, but it 
showed an ignorance about the people of this country 
that was appalling. Could any rational man suppose 
it likely that the people of this country would collect 
their leading men and women, all unarmed, on one 
spot at a widely advertised public meeting for the pur- 
pose of effecting a rising? 

The telegram of sympathy to the meeting from 
Mrs. W. P. Schreiner, wife of the ex-Premier, had a 
tremendous reception. 

On the way to Cape Town we passed a train full of 
" loyalists," who hurled insults at us. 

At the meeting both the Cafe Times and the Cafe 
Argus had reporters present, who took a full report 
of the speeches ; but the speeches were too effective 
for good " loyalist " reading, and so both papers re- 
fused to give any report except a short telegraphic 
summary of isolated portions. The authorities had 
both a Dutch and EngUsh reporter present to take a 
verbatim report, no doubt with a view to prosecutions. 

One other incident is worth relating. Three men 
whose names I have, found their children in possession 
of a considerable qtiantity of loaded cartridges the 
day before the Congress, the sale of ammunition hav- 
ing been for a long time prohibited. One can easily 
see what a trump card it would have been for Milner 
and the authorities, if any trouble had occurred at 
Worcester, to be able to point triumphantly to the 
" fact " that ammunition had been smuggled into the 
town. It would have been said at once that the town 
had been arming quietly. The parents of these chil- 



4o6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

dren took them immediately, with their cartridges, to 
the local Commandant, who professed to be very in- 
dignant about it But the culprits were never dis- 
covered. On being questioned, the children stated 
that the cartridges had been given to them by Cana- 
dian and Australian troopers. 

The military authorities were wise enough to pro- 
hibit any privates from entering the town on the day 
before the Congress, the day of the Congress, and the 
day after. The consequence was there was no 
rowdyism, no drinking, and that each night the town 
was asleep at an early hour. When, on the fourth 
day, the troopers were admitted, all this was changed : 
the town became a hell ; drunken men lay about the 
streets, and a woman could not walk about without be- 
ing accosted by these Imperialists. 

I give the report of the Congress as published by 
the South African News, Ninety-seven districts and 
120,000 people were represented at the Congjress, 
which, further, had the solid support of the whole of 
the Dutch Afrikander population of the Colony and 
of a good many of the best of the non-Dutch.* 



* When the last census was taken in 1891, there were 
376,000 whites in the Cape Colony, of which about three-fifths 
were Dutch and two-fifchs non-Dutch. 



THE PEOPLE'S CONGRESS. 



Worcester, 6th December, 1900, 

Reprinted from The South African News. 

The following is the report of the Congress, taken 
verbatim from the columns of the SouiA African 
News, Cape Town : — 

The Worcester Congress has come and gone, and 
whatever its immediate results may be it represents 
a landmark in South African history. Of that no 
thoughtful person could have a shadow of doubt, who 
witnessed the vast, orderly throng that gathered under 
the grateful shade of some of Worcester's tall trees 
on Thursday morning. There are various estimates 
of the number present, the lowest being 7,000 and the 
highest 12,000. Persons the longest experienced in 
such estimates give the number as fully 10,000, and 
this is borne out by statistics as to the number of 
tickets issued. Within a shade of 10,000 tickets were 
actually given out to people entering the grounds, but 
these — the large grounds where the annual mission 
gathering is held — are to be entered by other 
approaches than those where the ticket-distributors 
were stationed, and it is most likely that many hun- 
dreds did enter in other ways. The meeting was the 
largest ever known at Worcester, and probably the 
largest ever held in the Western districts outside Cape 
Town. But a more striking fact than that of number 
is the fact of the comprehensiveness of the gathering. 
Only South Africans, aware of the immense distances 

( 407 ) 



4o8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

to be traversed, the absence of railways, and the diffi- 
culty of farmers getting away at this time, can realise 
the full significance of the despatch of delegates from 
such distant spots as Kokstad, Clanwilliam, and Cal- 
vinia. It was a most cheering sign, too, to note that 
many of those present were women; and Mrs. Van 
Zyl, a farmer's wife who in simple but earnest fashion 
gave her views on one of the resolutions, had one of 
the heartiest receptions of the day. Olive Schreiner 
was there, but did not speak, and only a few people 
got a sight of the famous author. Needless to say 
that wherever she was recognised she had an enthusi- 
astic reception. Mr. Cronwright Schreiner had nothing 
to say about his own brutal maltreatment — ^which in 
one case only just stopped short of murder — in Eng- 
land, the centre of Lord Roseber/s "free, tolerant 
and unaggressive" Empire; he confined himself to 
the experiences of the People's Delegates ; but when 
he had finished speaking, up jumped Mr. R. P. Botha, 
of Richmond, and in a few hesurtfelt words related 
what Mr. Cronwright Schreiner had done and suf- 
fered, and thereafter the welkin rang with cheers in 
honour of the burly and doughty Eastern Province 
Briton, who has taken such a fearless stand for jus- 
tice over this war. Two most striking incidents at- 
tended the dehvery of Mr. Cronwright Schreiner's 
speech. When he said that Sir Alfred Milner should 
be recalled there was a scene the like of which the 
present writer has not seen at a South African meet- 
ing during an experience of many years. For fully 
a minute and a half the people cheered, cheered them- 
selves hoarse, cheered and waved their hats or hand- 
kerchiefs, clapped their hands, and in every way 
showed their enthusiastic agreement with the orator. 



X.?K 



FUBL 






UBR^ 



h 



Aarto* 



ii»K*» 



'TtUS*^ 



f^OWDATlO 



!<»' 



J, TKNGO JAKAVl* 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 409 

At another point in his speech Mr. Cronwright 
Schreiner referred to Mr. J. Tengo Jabava Again 
there was cheering loud and long. At another point 
somebody called out, when Sir A. Milner^s name was 
mentioned: "Lanyon over again." And then there 
was a moment's painful, eloquent silence. Again, 
when it was said that Sir A. Milner should leave this 
country someone cried : " And take Rhodes with him, 
and then we shall all get on well" If the Lord of 
Groote-Schuur had heard the answering cheer he 
would almost have doubted the efficacy of his cheque- 
book, big as it is, to corrupt the Afrikander Party 
for whose support he and his agents are trying so 
desperately. All the speakers were well received 
Rev. D, P. Faure's name was saluted with volleys of 
cheers — ^renewed at the close of his address, which 
was capitally read by Rev. Mr. Pienaar — and Dr. 
Kolbe, whose reception told its own good tale as to 
the lessening of sectarian prejudice, had to pause 
at many points of his admirable speech, owing to the 
cheering. 

The Congress had the rare good fortune of obtain- 
ing the services of Mr. J. N. P. de Villiers, ex-C.C. and 
R.M., as chairmaa Mr. de Villiers, who acted in a 
similar capacity at the Graaff-Reinet Congress, set a 
high note at Uie beginning of the proceedings, and 
that note was never lost It is due to the meeting 
to add that never once had the chairman to complain 
of the slightest breach of decorum. What this means 
in the case of such a vast gathering, most of whom had 
to stand for over five hours, and did so most cheerf uUy, 
need not be emphasised. Mr. F. S. Malan found time, 
despite his editorship of 0ns Land and his work as 
Parliamentary candidate at Malmesbury, to act as 



410 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Hon. Secretary to the Congress, and right well he did 
it ; while Mr. D. S. de Villiers, the local Assistant Sec- 
retary, performed a vast amount of preliminary and 
other work with the utmost credit to himself and satis- 
faction to the promoters of the meeting. 

Towards the close of the meeting somebody ob- 
served Mr. Sauer, who (with Mrs. Sauer) was seated 
at the back of the platform. The cry was taken up 
and there were deafening cries of "Sauer, Sauer." 
Mr. Pretorius, M.L.C., that burly old patriot, seized 
Mr. Sauer by the arms and fairly forced him to the 
front Mr. Sauer said a very few words on the 
situation, and then moved a vote of thanks to the 
Chairman of the Congress, which was most warmly 
accorded. 

The Congress came to an end soon after 4 o'clock, 
with the singing of a hymn, and many of the dele- 
gates left Worcester the same night At the station 
a few of the troops, in charge of the Maxims placed 
by Sir Gordon Sprigg and his colleagues to over-awe 
the meeting, were gathered, and with these many of 
the delegates were soon in friendly conversation. 
Many of the Volunteers expressed their disgust at 
being sent to bully peaceful Colonists holding a lawful 
meeting, and expressed themselves strongly as to 
what would happen to any Government that at- 
tempted the same thing in their country. 

The Congress was opened at 1 1 . 1 5 a.m., with prayer 
by the Rev. Mr. Neethling, of Stellenbosch ; after 
which verse 3 of Psalm 146 having been sung with 
magni&cent eifect, the chairman addressed the meet- 
ing:— 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 4" 



The Chairman's Speech.— A Telling 

Quotation. 

The Chairman, who was received with great cheer- 
ing, said he had decided to address the meeting in 
Dutch. They had met together that day to discuss 
matters of great moment and importance, and he was 
glad to see that so many, even at this season of diffi- 
culty and drought, had shown their interest in the 
meeting by attending it, some of them at the cost of 
personal sacrifice and inconvenience. (Cheers.) In 
the name of the Congress he extended a hearty wel- 
come to all who were present, especially the delegates. 
Proceeding, Mr. de Villiers said the object of the 
meeting was well known to all, and the subjects to be 
discussed more particularly would be set forth in 
detail by the several speakers who would follow him. 
The fact that numbers of those whom he saw before 
him had come from far to attend the Congress, many 
of them at great personal sacrifice, was proof convinc- 
ing of the interest which they all took in the affairs 
which lay so near to their hearts. (Cheers.) They 
had all of them heard of the testimony which had 
been given by the women of the country. (Cheers.) 
To those women tliey were all grateful, for they had 
led the way, and had they been silent the very stones 
would have spoken in protest. (Cheers.) They had 
met in Congress to give expression to the feelings 
which animated them on the subject of tEe sufferings 
and misery which this country had to endure owing 
to the war with the two Republics. He had not the 
slightest doubt as to their right as British subjects thus 
to give expression to their feelings. (Hear, hear.) 



412 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

But if there was anyone in the meeting who did have 
some doubt about 

THEIR CONSTITUTIONAL PRIVILEGES 

he would draw attention to certain memorable and 
burning words which were uttered by a prominent 
and leading statesman in England not long ago. 
Speaking in a large English town, May ii, 1900, this 
statesman expressed himself as follows : ** The ques- 
tion which you have first to settle, the question which 
will decide everything else, which will decide the 
main lines of the conduct of the war, which above all 
will decide the settlement which is to follow the war 
— that issue is : Is the war just ? Is it righteous ? Is 
it inevitable ? If it be, I need not tell you what to 
think and what to say of the men who held that 
opinion and do not give any support to those who are 
prosecuting the campaign, but if it be not, if we can- 
not prove it has tliose necessary qualifications, then I 
say no man deserves the name of honest man who 
does not at once denounce the war, who does not claim 
immediately that peace should be made, and who does 
not refuse one penny of contribution to what would 
otherwise be a national sin." (Loud cheers.) Again, 
during the recent General Election campaign, that 
same prominent statesman, speaking at the same place 
on September 22, only about two months ago, said : 
** Now, gentlemen, was this war just ? Everything 
depends on that I can hardly restrain a feeling of 
contempt for the men who say that this war was un- 
justified, then say that they are willing to prosecute it 
to the bitter end No, if you believe that the war was 
unjust oppose it tooth and nail ; endeavour to prevent 
your country from committing a crime, and no matter 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 413 

what may be the fate of statesmen or parties, you at 
all events will be justified to yoiir own consciences." 
(Loud cheers.) The speaker was Mr. Chamberlaia 
That, in short, was the constitutional position they 
were in at that Congress. (Cheers.) The whole 
question was whether or not the war was inevitable 
and just Those now assembled in Congress had 
already on more than one occasion expressed their 
opinion on that subject Meetings had been held 
throughout the land, from the People's Congress that 
assembled at Graaff-Reinet in June last to the smaller 
meetings all over the country, and at each of these 
South Africans had definitely expressed their opinion 
that they considered the war unjust (Hear, hear.) 
To-day they saw the disgraceful results of the war : 
in the way old men and women, sick children and in- 
fants were being treated. This rough treatment of 
those whom they loved had deeply wounded the 
hearts of all South Africans. (Hear, hear.) Before 
this they could not grasp the full significance of the 
struggle ; the horrible realisation of it all was to-day 
only too well felt by everyone It had been brought 
to their doors by the cry of these unfortunate women. 
(Hear, hear.) A prominent Cape Town paper talked 
about an inferno. That was a little word, but of 
horrible, awful importance. He did not know what 
the paper meant by using it If it meant the present 
condition of a£Fairs in the country it was unfortunately 
right, but what right had a paper that had Been largely 
instrumental in bringing about the war to talk of an 
inferno ? (Hear, hear.) They had met together to 
discuss these matters, and it was scarcely necessary for 
him to ask them to do so in a fit and proper manner, 
never forgetting themselves, speaking temperately, in 



414 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

a maimer worthy of British subjects who were loyal to 
their Sovereign. (Cheers.) They had before them 
some of the members of the deputation which had 
been sent to England to lay their views before the 
public there, and he heartily welcomed them. (Cheers.) 
They had done their best, and he could not but be 
reminded of Christ^s parable of the tares and the good 
seed. They had gone to England and found a fair 
field, but, alas : it was sown with tares, and the grain 
was scarcely to be distinguished at present Yet had 
they sown their seed, which was good, and returned in 
the expectation that with God's help it would grow 
and flourish, and in time bear fruit worthy of the 
sowing. (Applause.) 

The Leader of the People's Deputation. 

Professor De Vos, chairman of the Peace Delega- 
tion sent by the Graaff-Reinet People's Congress to 
England, then stepped forward to siddress the meet- 
ing. His appearance was the signal for general 
cheering, and it was some time before the venerable 
old pastor could make his voice heard. Then, when 
he did speak, his voice scarcely carrying to the skirts 
of the vast crowd, complete silence reigned, broken 
only now and th^n by cheering or other marks of 
approval The time, he said, was a most critical 
one, and some months ago the people of the Colony, 
feeling and knowing how critical it was, decided to 
send a deputation to England to lay their views before 
the English public. They thought and hoped that 
thereby the false impression prevalent in England 
would be removed ; they cherished the hope that if 
the English people were rightly informed of the 
state of things prevailing in South Africa they would 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 415 

never approve of the war, and would never 
sanction the deeds which were being done in their 
name on their behalf. (Hear, hear.) But, alas! that 
turned out to have been a false impression, a mis- 
taken hope. They found that the English public 
had been grossly misled, but what was more painful, 
that they had been only too wilUng to be misled 
(Hear, hear.) South Africans deemed that an appeal 
to the better feelings of the English nation would not 
be without good results, but that too had proved a 
delusion. On the arrival of the deputation in Eng- 
land they had no lack of advisers. There were some 
who said, " Oh, whatever you do take care you avoid 
Courtney, Stead, and people of that class." (Laugh- 
ter.) They knew what worth to attach to such ad- 
vice. (Hear, hear.) Others again said they should 
in the first place take care to see Lord Salisbury and 
Mr. Chamberlain, for if it were known that these had 
refused to receive them they would have great diffi- 
culty in obtaining a hearing with the people. How- 
ever, they finally decided not to join any party, but 
to work on their own platform, freely and gratefully 
accepting whatever aid was given them. In follow- 
ing out this policy they held several meetings, private 
as well as public, and had the honour of meeting 
several important men, Lord Hobhouse and others, 
to whom they could tell their views and talk matters 
over in private. They had meetings with the clergy 
of various denominations in private, but unfortunately 
with little success. There were, however, many who 
sympathised with them, many who were kind to them, 
and many to whom they had cause to be grateful. 
Some of those told them, " We do not know what has 
come over our people. It seems as if they are mad." 



4i6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

They said to the deputation : " You will have a hard 
time of it, but what will become of our nation? That 
is what troubles us the most at present" (Hear, 
hear.) The deputation held several meetings, but 
could not reach the ear of the nation, and came to the 
conclusion, reluctantly, that there was nothing more 
to be done at the present moment Everything was 
done to make their work difficult Very, very rarely 
were full reports of their meetings inserted in the 
newspapers; but on many occasions dishonest and 
garbled reports were published ; and if they wrote to 
contradict it their letters were refused and never pub- 
lished (" Shame.'^ Nevertheless, they held several 
meetings, and if they had been '^ Progressive " enough 
to speak on Sundays at pubEc meetings they could 
have held many more. (Hear, hear.) They were 
often asked to do so, it being held that as the pubUc- 
houses were closed on Sundays the audiences would 
be more disposed to hsten quietly to them ; but they 
told their friends that in South Africa people were 
not so " Progressive " as to address poUtical meetings 
on Sundays. (Cheers.) Proceeding, Professor De 
Vos related the further experiences of the deputation, 
of which reports have already been published, and 
said that he was astonished to find so many sympa- 
thisers in England, many of whom had done their best 
for them, and to whom South Africans were duly 
grateful — (cheers) — and in Scotland, Ireland, and 
especially on the Continent, there were many more. 
With regard to the English public. Professor De Vos 
said he expected little from them. They had been 
bitten by the mad dog of Jingoism, and they were 
mad in consequence. He was especially disappointed 
with the Liberal party, and said he agreed with Mr. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 41; 

Chamberlain that if a man felt honestly that the war 
was unjust he should oppose it tooth and nail. (Hear, 
hear.) He felt far more respect for an out-and-out 
Jingo than for the members of the Liberal Party who 
had not the courage to give expression to their 
opinions. (Cheers.) He thought the work the de- 
putation had done in England would bring good fruit 
in the future. The English public would feel the 
truth of their words when the bill had to be paid. 
(Hear, hear.) They would then feel that those on 
the spot were right in saying they knew more about 
affairs here than did people thousands of miles away. 
In conclusion, Professor De Vos appealed to the Con- 
gress not to neglect anything in their power, in a 
constitutional manner, to bring the true state of 
aif airs before the notice of the public in England ; 
to reiterate again and again their expression that the 
war was a horrible injustice, and above all not to lose 
their faith in God, who heard their prayers, and who 
in His time would do justice. (Loud applause.) 

Mr. Cronwright Schreiner— " Recall Sir A. 

MiLNER." 

Mr. Cronwright-Schreiner, who was received with 
long-continued cheering, moved a vote of thanks to 
the delegates who went to England from the People's 
Congress at Graaff-Reinet In doing so, he said: 

There is, I think, a certain appropriateness in my 
moving a resolution of thanks to the People's Dele- 
gates. 

I, perhaps more than any man in South Africa, 
know what they have gone through ; for I also have 
shared their experience. From my childhood I grew 

2 D 



41 8 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

up in a firm belief in the nobility of the English 
nation. I loved and honoured England with a love 
that was almost a religioa Believing thus in the 
English nation, loving it thus, being of unmixed Eng- 
lish blood and an Outlander, I thought I would go to 
England and tell its people of the great wrong that 
was being done in South Africa, and the irreparable 
injury England was doing to her own interests by 
being drawn into this war by capitalists and politi- 
cians. I knew she had been misinformed by the 
purchased Press, and, in my simplicity, I believed 
she wished to know the truth and do the right. But 

A HEART-BREAKING EXPERIENCE 

awaited me. I found that my faith and my admira- 
tion had been based on an erroneous conception of 
her present condition ; that, steeped in ignorance 
though she was about South African matters, she 
neither wished to know the truth nor to do the right 
For myself, I was mobbed, I was assaulted, mauled, 
and nearly killed, and Imperialist mobs lay in wait to 
attack me at hotel doors and railway stations. 
("Shame.") They attacked me in such overwhelm- 
ing numbers that I might have been General De Wet 
at the head of a commando, instead of one solitary 
Colonial Englishman. (Laughter.) The mobs were 
incited, encouraged, and applauded as patriots by the 
Press. The forging of tickets, the personal assaults, 
the destruction of property of those opposed to the 
war was acquiesced in by the police, condoned by 
the local authorities, and palliated in Parliament even 
by such men as Mr. Balfour. ("Shame.") It was 
bad enough that a single British Colonial, going to 
England to explain what he believed to be the truth 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 419 

with regard to South African matters, should have 
been treated as I was. But it was infinitely worse 
that our delegates should have been treated as they 
were. They represented the majority of white 
British subjects in the Cape Colony, they were elec- 
ted at a public meeting, and sent across officially, to 
lay our view of the matter before the English nation. 
You have heard what happened. Not only were our 
accredited delegates ignored by Her Majesty's Mini- 
sters, not one of whom ever met them ; but the ma- 
jority of the English nation complacently stood aside 
and looked on, while our delegates were hunted from 
one end of the kingdom to the other by the Imperial- 
ist mobs, with perfect impunity to their cowardly as- 
sailants. I think, perhaps, that no single fact lets 
in such a lurid light upon the present condition of 
the British people as the treatment of our accredited 
delegates. Our 

DELEGATES DID THEIR DUTY NOBLY 

— (great cheering) — they persisted in the face of the 
most outrageous persecution. They have leamt, as 
I did, that there is now no "f airplay" for us, much 
less for the Republics, to be hoped for from the 
British nation. They have done their duty to England 
England has failed in her duty to us. In spite of 
the fact that there are hundreds of thousands of 
the most thoughtful, cultured, and earnest men and 
women in Great Britain who as fervently desire the 
independence of the Republics as any of us gathered 
here to-day, and who have the most profound sym- 
pathy with the sufferings and wrongs which have 
been inflicted upon the South African nation during 
the past years — in spite of this, the fact remains that 

2 D 2 



420 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

the bulk of the English people have, at this cradal 
juncture in the history of South Africa and the Bri- 
tish Empire, grievously failed in their duty to the 
people of this Colony. (Cheers.) On your behalf, on 
behalf of the majority of the white British subjects 
in the Colony — (cheers) — on behalf of the overwhelm- 
ing majority of the white residents in South Africa, 
on behalf of the Natives, led by that noble Kafir, Mr. 
Tengo Jabavu — (loud cheers)---who have earnestly 
desired peace in South Africa — (cheers), — on behalf 
of all the brave, well-informed, and unbiassed men 
and women who love South Africa, and regard 
it as their fatherland, and all men and wo- 
men bom in it as their fellow-countrymen — 
(cheers) — I thank the delegates. (Great cheering.) 
For me, the present problem in South Africa is not 
in any way a matter of Dutch and English— (cheers) 
— it is simply an intellectual and moral problem, a 
question of honour and justice. (Cheers.) To me, 
it is impossible to justify England's conduct towards 
the South African Republic since the Raid; it has 
been a record of dishonesty and cowardice on the 
part of her political leaders, the tools of international 
capitalism. (Cheers.) This war is a crime into which 
she has been practically forced by the capitalist 
(Cheers.) She knows she could not submit her case 
to any just tribunal in the world but she would be 
knocked to pieces, and therefore she has refused ar- 
bitratioa She has condoned the Raid, she has re- 
jected a franchise law more liberal than her own, she 
has put forward a dishonest claim to suzerainty, she 
has violated her Imperial word and the 1884 Conven- 
tion — (cheers) — she has forced a war on South Africa 
in opposition to the wish of the overwhelming ma- 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 431 

jority of its inhabitants, and she is compelling her 
soldiers, often, I fed confident, much against their 
will, to wage the war with an inhumanity, with a bar- 
barism, which is astonishing the civilized world. 
(" Shame.") Now, why has all this come to pass ? 
Because the capitalists want control of the Legisla- 
ture of the South African Republic to fill their own 
pockets, and because Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Chamber- 
lain want 

TO COVER UP THEIR " SPOOR." 

(Great cheering.) This war is being waged and Eng- 
lish soldiers are being sacrificed to place a gang of 
international speculators in control at Pretoria That 
is why our friends and relations are to-day being 
slaughtered in the RepubUcs ; it is for this that thou- 
sands of English soldiers have fallea The Raid 
put an overwhelming majority in the South African 
Republic, in the Orange Free State, and in this 
Colony against the capitalists; and the capitalists, 
finding they could not buy us nor beat us at the polls, 
forced on a position in which the South African Re- 
public would have to give up its control of its own 
Legislature and its land, or fight (Cheers.) Being 
men, the Republicans fought (Prolonged cheering.) 
This plot is directed as much against the men and 
women of the Cape Colony as against the Republics. 
We, too, the legitimate majority in this Colony, are 
to be got under in our own Legislature that the capi- 
talist may reign f^om Aguilhas to the Zambezi Our 
own freedom from capitalist control is bound up 
in that of the Republics. (Cheers.) This is why it 
has become necessary to the capitalist to crush the 
Dutch South Africans. In the Republics this is to 



422 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

be accomplished by the ruthless extermination, if 
possible, of the people, and the devastation of the 
whole country, in defiance of all humanity and jus- 
tice. In the Colony the same policy is being pur- 
sued at present by other means. You know how this 
is to be accomplished. A Ministry, nearly every 
member of which is a Rhodes man — (cheers and 
" Rhodes hacks ") — is in power, representing a mino- 
rity of the Colony. (Cheers.) I need not dwell upon 
how this was made possible, or point out to you that 
the disfranchisement of the "rebels" is part of this 
plot. Once this capitalist Ministry is strong enough 
in Parliament, it will pass a Redistribution Bill, con- 
firming the minority in power, and then the end of 
that plot, of which the Raid was the first public move, 
will have been accomplished (Cheers.) They will 
then proceed to disfranchise the Natives and enslave 
them in all but name, to procure cheap labour for the 
capitalists — (cheers) — while we, the legitimate majo- 
rity, will have been handed over, tied hand and foot, 
to the speculators and monopolists who have pro- 
duced this war. ("Never" and cheers.) But if we 
are indignant at the forcing on of this war in the 
Republics, and the manner in which it was brought 
about, if we are indignant at the determined attempt 
to politically crush the majority in the Colony, we are 
still more indignant at the manner in which the wax 
is now being conducted. (Cheers.) It was bad 
enough when the Republicans, our fellow South 
Africans, our friends and relations, fought against 
overwhelming numbers, besmirched by a torrent of 
mean abuse from the Ananiases of the capitalist 
Press. (Cheers.) But it has reached a stage now as 
cowardly as it is cruel, when the soldiers are ordered 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 423 

to wage war upon women and children, and systema- 
tically to 

DEVASTATE THE COUNTRY. 

This is the unholy use to which unscrupulous politi- 
cians and soulless speculators are to-day putting the 
British soldier. It is bad enough that our soldiers 
should be put to butcher a gallant little foe fighting 
for the land of their birth; but when, to beat this 
gallant foe, they are ordered to turn women and chil- 
dren out into the veld, to destroy their food, to bum 
their houses, to huddle refined and cultured women 
into trucks, comfortless and foodless, to ship them to 
the ports, and there, with loaded rifle and fixed bayo- 
net, to keep them and their children prisoners — this 
is a depth of degradation in which we, as British sub- 
jects, will have and can have no share. (Prolonged 
cheering.) Because we are men who dissociate our- 
selves from this cowardice and wickedness ; because 
we are men, and loyal to the highest English tradi- 
tions, we do more: we place ourselves, with a large 
body of our fellow-subjects in Great Britain, in strenu- 
ous opposition to it. We can well realise the horrors 
that are being committed by Lord Roberts's incen- 
diaries against an heroic people, whose great fault is 
that they are too brave and love their country too 
well; we may guess what treatment is being meted 
out to our relations and friends in the Republics, not 
only to strong men but to women and children, by 
the treatment that is meted out to British subjects 
in the Cape Colony. When a man can be shot with 
impunity as Dolly was ; when a woman can be shot, as 
the young girl at Barkly West was ; when innocent 
men can be imprisoned and ruined oil the most unjust 



424 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

and unfounded suspicion ; when certain members of 
a Colonial corps can behave with impunity as they 
have behaved in a British colony supposed to be safe- 
guarded by civil laws, we can well infer what horrors 
are being perpetrated in the Republics, where there 
is not even a pretence of civil justice. The war had 
not been lox^ in progress when 

THE REAL OBJECT 

of all the intrigues of the speculators and their poli- 
tical tools became apparent The indecent haste to 
annex, when practically the whole country was in the 
possession of its rightful owners (as indeed it still 
is), showed the inner meaning of it all — the greedy 
hunger for the goldfields of the South African Re- 
pubUc Personally I say I fervently hope that Eng- 
land may never succeed in the accomplishment of the 
crime she is engaged in, and that the two Republics 
may retain that freedom which is their right, which 
their splendid heroism (heroism rarely equalled and 
surely never surpassed in the history of mankind) has 
deserved, and which is essential to the well-being of 
South Africa and the freedom of us all, white and 
black, from the corrupt and selfish domination of a 
gang of international speculators. (Prolonged cheer- 
ing.) The iniquities of England in this matter will 
surely come home to her. She has rightly forfeited 
that love and trust which we South Africans gave her. 
She will only have herself to (bank if she makes her 
rule horrible to us, just as she has herself to thank 
for the hostility of Ireland and the loss of the United 
States. If she thinks she can pacify South Africa by 
crushing the Republics, by allowing one of our elec- 
toral bodies to be gerrymandered in order to give a 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 425 

political majority to a capitalist minority and by wag- 
ing an micivilised war upon women and children, she 
makes a gprievous mistake. (Cheers.) Now, what are 
we to do ? Two things, I think, primarily. First we 
must let England clearly imderstand that we, the ma- 
jority in this Colony, will never acquiesce in the tak- 
ing away of the independence of the Republics. 
(Cheers.) We take this course, because it is the only 
just one, the only one by which peace may be attained 
in South Africa, and because also our own freedom 
from domination by the international speculator gang 
depends upon it Next, we must insist upon freedom 
in the control of our own internal affairs. (Cheers.) 
Mr. Chamberlain has said we are as free as England 
internally. Let us take him at his word We cannot 
remove Mr. Chamberlain himself, as we are not Bir- 
mingham electors, any more than we can prevent 
Kynoch's making expansive btdlets — (laughter)— or 
than we can prevent Mr. Chamberlain's family from 
growing wealthy on fat army contracts which the war 
makes doubly remunerative. (Laughter.) But if we 
are a free people, we have a right of choice about the 
man whose salary we pay. So let us say at once, and 
let us stand to it without flinching that 

WE WILL NOT HAVE MILNER 

— (immense cheering, long continued) — that Milner 
must be recalled at once. From the time of his in- 
sult to the Dutch South Africans at Graaff-Reinet 
down to his making " excellent practice " at President 
Kruger's effigy and the effigies of some of the most 
respected and honoured Englishmen in the public 
life of the Colony (an act which would have been as 
impossible to a gentleman as to a brave man) — 



4^6 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

(cheers)— he has persistently insulted and misrepre- 
sented us, and shown himself in all matters the nar- 
row political partisan and not the broad, balanced 
unbiassed representative of our Queen. (Cheers.) 
Never have we had a High Commissioner so lacking 
in intellectual grasp and ability to see things as they 
are; never, Mr. Rhodes excepted, has England had 
so great an enemy in South Africa — (cheers) — one 
who has done her highest interests here such incal- 
culable harm. (Cheers.) A brilliant man in England 
said to me, when I was over there, that Franklin had 
said he had a short code of laws for breaking an Em- 
pire ; " But I," said the brilliant man, " have a shorter 
— send Mibier!" (Cheers.) It was well said (Cheers.) 
Not only is Milner a curse to South Africa, but he 
is the disintegrator of the Empire here, as he would 
be in any other self-governing Colony, with his nar- 
row, sectional, and party bias, and his incapacity to 
understand a free people. (Cheers.) As long as his 
foot remains anywhere on South African soil, there 
can be no peace. (Cheers.) And, inasmuch as we do 
not desire to have all the ties of affection between 
England and ourselves permanently broken, let him 
be recalled, and let them send us a man that under- 
stands men. (Great cheering.) Again, in the name 
of the people who sent them, I thank the delegates 
for their able and strenuous accomplishment of their 
task in England. (Prolonged cheering.) 

The Chairman said he had listened with great at- 
tention to Mr. Cronwright Schreiner's speech ; but he 
appealed to the meeting to speak against the prin? 
ciple and system rather than against persons. They 
could express their opinions about a mistaken policy 
without personalities — (cries of "Noi — not about 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 427 

Milner ")— and he hoped they would do nothing that 
would be in any way construed as directed against 
anyone personally. (Hear, hear.) 

Mr. R. P. Botha (Richmond), a member of the 
People's Deputation, proposed an informal vote of 
thanks to Mr. Cronwright Schreiner, who, he said, 
had proved himself a true friend of South Africa, for 
he had been her friend in her hoiu: of need. (Loud 
cheers.) At the cost of personal injury and insult he 
had championed her cause. (Cheers.) At Leeds, 
Mr. Cronwright Schreiner had suffered severely at 
the hands of the mob, who had attacked him and 
knocked him down unconscious. (Hear, hear.) But 
he had done his duty, and they were grateful to him 
— nay, he had done more than his duty, for he had 
gone at his own risk at another's request. (Cheers.) 
Proceeding, Mr. Botha gave additional details about 
the work of the deputation in England, and mentioned 
the staimch friends he had met there — amongst 
others Professor Liston, whose house had been at- 
tacked and damaged by the mob, but who cheerfully 
told his assailants: "You have done me an honour 
in letting me suffer injury in the cause of justice md 
right." (Loud applause.) The work the deputation 
had done in England was no doubt small, but its 
effects would be felt in the future, and then it would 
be seen who were the true friends of South Africa. 
Mr. Cronwright Schreiner*s name would ever be re- 
membered as 

ONE OF SOUTH AFRICA'S HEROES, 

and he (Mr. Botha) hoped the meeting would second 
his proposal to give three hearty cheers for Mr. 
Cronwright-Schreiner. 



428 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

The meeting willingly responded to the appeal, and 
cheered Mr. Cronwright Schreiner right lustily. 

At this stage a telegram was read from Mrs. W. P. 
Schreiner, Newlands:* "I am with you in deepest 
sympathy." The telegram was received with much 
cheering. 

The Secretary then read a letter from Rev. A. 
Moorrees» who was unable to be present owing to in- 
disposition. Mr. Moorrees wrote expressing his cor- 
dial sympathy with the meeting and trusting that the 
Coi^fress would not forget the many friends in Eng- 
land who had zealously supported them. He pro- 
posed the following resolution, which was read by the 
Secretary: — 

"This meeting has heard with deep gratitude of 
the tmceasing efforts made by Mr. and Mrs. Leonard 
Courtney and others in the interests of the mainten- 
ance of justice and the restoration of a lasting peace 
in South Africa. This meeting feels that the stead- 
fastness and self-sacrifice with which they, notwith- 
standing contempt and ridicule and the temporary 
loss of popularity, have fought for the rights of a small 
and unjustly-treated nation deserves its honour and 
appreciation to the fullest degree, and that the prin- 
ciples to which they have given expression and which 
they have defended are worthy of the noblest tradi- 
tions of the English nation ; and expresses its convic- 
tion that the day will assuredly come when the better 
part of the nation will do justice to them, and trusts 
that in the meantime they may possess in the ap- 
proval of their consciences that pleasure which the 
^■^■^^^^■^^■.■^— ^^.^— ^— .— — ^— ^— .^i^— — »^— »^—— I ■■ ■ ■■ 

* Wife of the ex-Prcmicr. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 429 

changeable favour of the people can neither give nor 
take away." 

The resolution was received with prolonged cheers, 
and when the Chairman rose to second it, the meet- 
ing exclaimed, " We all second it," and carried it with 
acclamation. 

It being now about one o'clock, an adjournment was 
made for lunch, refreshments being provided under 
the trees on the grounds. Tables and stalls had been 
erected, at which sandwiches and the usual light re- 
freshments were sold, the proceeds going towards the 
funds for the Republican women and children. Many 
took advantage of the interval to inspect a *' Boer 
cannon," a piece of wooden ordnance made by the 
Boer prisoners at St Helena. One shilling (which 
went towards the women's fund) was charged for in- 
specting this curio, which was soon surrounded by a 
large crowd of interested spectators. 

On resuming after lunch, the Secretary read the 
following letter from Mrs. Koopmans de Wet, whose 
name was received with loud and prolonged applause : 

"23, Strand Street, 

Cape Town. 
Dear Sir and Friend, 

Most heartily I trust that the Congress of which 
you will be Chairman will be productive of much good 
for our country and people. We know that right may 
be perverted for a time, but ultimately it will triumph. 
I sincerely trust that our nation by speaking tem- 
perately but firmly will show that the blood of Hol- 
landers and Huguenots has not degenerated in them, 
and our English friends, who are English in the best 
sense of the word, as we know feel with us. May 



430 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 

this Congress in the far future even bear good fruit ! 
I am to-day in thought with you, although my 
health does not permit me to be so in person. God 
help us." 

Rev. Professor Hofmeyr wrote from Stellenbosch 
as follows : — 

" Brothers, — My heart is with you this morning. I 
will think of you and continually pray to God that 
He may let His light shine upon you and grant that 
you may express yourselves in such a dignified manner 
that even our enemies may feel respect. Hold fast to 
the God of our fathers. He rules, and He will suc- 
cour us in His good time. This trust will strengthen 
to guard against whatever may be displeasing to Him. 
I write myself a fellow-sufferer in the misery that has 
befallen us, — N. J. Hofmeyr." 

The first resolution was moved by Dr. Reinecke, of 
Ceres. It ran as follows : — 

"We men and women of South Africa assembled 
and represented here, having heard the report of the 
People's Deputation to England, and having taken 
into earnest consideration the deplorable condition 
into which the people of South Africa have been 
plunged, and the grave dangers threatening our civi- 
lisation, record our solemn conviction that the inter- 
ests of South Africa demand {a) termination of the war 
now raging, with its untold misery and horrors, such 
as the burning of houses, the desolation of the coun- 
try, the extermination of a white nationality, and 
the treatment to which women and children are sub- 
mitted, which will leave a lasting heritage of bitter- 
ness and hatred, while seriously endangering the 
future relations between civilisation and barbarism in 
South Africa; (b) the retention by the Republics of 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 431 

their independence, whereby alone the peace of South 
Africa can be maintained." 

Dr. Reinecke said he himself had laboured amongst 
the Republicans, and prided himself on that (Cheers.) 
Continuity, he quoted from the " Encyclopaedia Brit- 
annica," vol. 8, page 363, to show what the state of 
Ireland was in 1787, and compared it with the condi- 
tion of affairs in the Republics to-day. Referring to 
the ill-treatment of the women, he alluded to the mur- 
der of Miss Van der Merwe, who was shot dead by 
the soldiery, and quoted from Miss Cronje's letter 
(which recently appeared in our columns) to show in 
what manner the Republican women were treated. 
Many of them had been taken away when at work in 
the fields, before they had time to get extra clothing 
or provisions — (" Shame ") — and deported. He re- 
ferred to Mrs. Hurdus's letters, and told how women 
had been forced to trot in front of soldiers* horses 
when arrested, and taken to the military camp — (cries 
of " Shame ") — how Kafirs had been allowed to insult 
them at Elandsfontein, and also referred to the ill- 
treatment which Mrs. Hertzog had experienced at the 
hands of the military, and said that one of her chil- 
dren had died owing to the miserable way it had been 
treated. (" Shame.") They had now been informed 
that these statements were untrue. The Magistrate 
at Port Elizabeth had written to state that matters 
had been improved. (A delegate from Steytlerville •. 
"Very little indeed, doctor: it's abominable.") It 
seemed to him as if the British were waging 
war on womankind out of revenge on Do 
Wet, whom they could not beat (Cheers.) 
He also quoted from Mr. Williams's articles 
in the Morning Leader y and read extracts from 



432 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

letters received from troopers and officers at the 
front telling of wanton destructicm and pillage of pro- 
perty and of gratuitous insult to women. {" Shame.") 
General Botha's dignified reply, " Whatever you may 
force our women to undergo, you will not force us 
thereby to give up the struggle for our freedom," was 
surely enough to show the absurdity of followii^ a 
policy of exasperation and cruelty. (Hear, hear.) 
Mrs. Kruger and Mrs. Botha were to be sent to 
Botha's camp, although the former was an old lady in 
bad health, and the journey might be her death. 
(Hear, hear.) These things were done, if not by Lord 
Roberts, then under his supervision, certainly with 
his cognizance (" Shame.") When Miss Joubert was 
asked by Lord Roberts to go to the Republican forces 
and tell them to surrender, she visited the women 
first and asked them what she should tell their hus- 
bands. They one and all answered, ^ Tell them not 
to come to us unless they come as masters of their 
own country." (Loud cheering.) When Mrs. Schoe- 
man was asked to induce her husband to lay down 
his arms she said that she preferred to see him dead 
(Cheers.) If that was the spirit which animated the 
Republican women it could not be crushed by cruel- 
ties, however severe. (Hear, hear.) It was said that 
the condition of affairs had been ameliorates at the 
prison camp at Port Elizabeth, but if so it was in con- 
sequence of the public opinion expressed by the Afri- 
canders with regard to the matter. How was it with 
similar camps at Pretoria, Johannesburg, Kimberley, 
Durban, Norval's Pont, and elsewhere, where there 
were no sympathising friends to interest themselves 
in the matter? Proceeding, Dr. Reinecke read ex- 
tracts from Colonel Hanna's letters, and quoted Mr. 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 433 

Williams's article in the " Morning Leader " of Octo- 
ber 23, with reference to the gutting of churches, and 
from other articles, wherein Lord Roberts's conduct 
was described as fit for the days of Tilly. (Hear, 
hear.) In conclusion, Dr. Reinecke urged that these 
matters should be brought to the notice of the perma- 
nent committee of the Hague Conference, and re- 
ferred especially to Mrs. Corbett's case, and the shoot- 
ing of Dolly. It should also be brought to the atten- 
tion of the British public They had not met in Con- 
gress to stir up race feeling, but to express their 
honest sentiments and convictions. As British sub- 
jects, such was their privilege, and he trusted they 
would not cease to agitate and continually to protest 
against what was not only a crime, but a disgraceful 
and cruel one, entailing much suffering upon the in- 
nocent. He thought it would be a good thing if the 
deputation which he understood was going to wair. 
upon Sir Alfred Milner to bring to his notice the re- 
solutions which had been passed at the Congress 
could ask to be allowed to send a deputation to the 
RepubHcs to see in how far the misery and suffering 
there could be alleviated by the efforts of sympa- 
thisers in this Colony and elsewhere. (Applause.) 

A Woman's Voice. 

Mrs. Van Zyl, who was received with loud applause, 
seconded the resolution. Speaking in Dutch, she 
said : Mr. Chairman and friends, it has been said by 
Dr. Reinecke that we do not come here out of love 
for speaking and agitation, but out of dire necessity. 
(Hear, hear.) I am an example of that I am a South 
African woman, with nothing else to pride myself 
upon but that. (Loud cheers.) It is with a deep sense 

2 E 



434 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

of my unworthiness I appear before you to second the 
resolution which has been read to you, and to say 
what I feel for my country — (cheers)^— and especially 
for my sisters who have had to suffer so much. I 
sincerely trust our respected Government will not ig- 
nore our appeal on behalf of these poor women. We 
ask, in the first place, that an end ^ould be made to 
this cruel war, and, secondly, that arrangements may 
be made whereby the women and children may be 
put at Uberty again. (Hear, hear.) And then in the 
third place, that the independence of those brave 
States may be respected — (cheers) — ^whereby alone 
an enduring peace can be ours. I hope that this reso- 
lution and what has been said in support of it may 
find an echo in the heart of every South Africaa (Ap- 
plause.) 

Rev. D. p. Faure— "The Mills of God Grind 
Slowly "—England's Moral Degeneration. 

Rev. D. P. Faure had been announced to speak in 
support of the resolutioa He was unable to be pre- 
sent, but sent the following address, which was read 
on his behalf by Rev. Mr. Pienaar : 

We who take part in this meeting and share the 
opinions here expressed must be prepared to be ac- 
cused of disloyalty. Against previous meetings of 
this nature this charge has been brought ; let us rely 
upon it that we shall not escape it But what is the 
meaning of the word "loyal," and who are the 
*' loyals *' ? We are loyal to our Queen, to our country, 
to our people, when we endeavour to promote the in- 
terests of that Queen, of that country, and that people, 
when we assist in averting dangers which threaten 
that country or people, (Cheers.) The events of the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 435 

last 14 months have shown who have proved them- 
selves to be true friends of Her Majesty the Queen, 
of the British Empire, and of the English people. 
(Cheers.) When, after the outbreak of the American 
War of Independence, William Pitt described that 
war as a crime and even went so far as to express the 
hope that the Americans might win, George III. im- 
doubtedly regarded him as a disloyal subject, but the 
judgment of history has been that George III. had 
proved himself to be the bitterest enemy of 
the country of which he was the King, and that Pitt 
had been the saviour of England in her darkest hour, 
even though he had been accused of disloyalty by his 
Sovereign. (Cheers.) Everybody in and outside 
South Africa feels convinced that if Her Majesty's 
Ministers could have foreseen the consequences, if 
they had had a conception of the gigantic task which 
awaited them, this war — which might have been so 
easily avoided — would never have been commenced. 
But those who were in authority allowed themselves 
to be misled by such "loycJ" Britons as Beit, Eck- 
stein, Rhodes, Garrett, Monypenny — (laughter) — and 
by a corrupt Press, which assured them that the 
Boers would never venture to fight, that they would 
climb down, that only a small army would be re- 
quired, and that the expenditure of only a small siun 
was needed to make England the owner of the richest 
gold-fields in the world, to wipe out the Republics, 
and to expand the Empire from Table Bay to the 
lakes of Central Africa (Cheers.) These assertions 
were believed, on this advice action was taken. The 
warnings, the prayers of those who were in the best 
position to predict the results of such a policy, were 
cast aside with scorn. The petition of two-thirds of 

2E2 



436 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

our Members of Parliament, the petition of the whole 
Dutch Reformed Church, the numerous resolutions 
passed by Bond and other meetings, the letters of in- 
dividuals from all parts of the Colony — all these were 
dealt with as if they were beneath notice. (Cheers.) 
And later still the deputation sent by us to England 
to enlighten the j)eople was silenced by means of 
stones and mud. (" Shame.") And this has been done 
in the land which used to boast of its fairplay and 
free speech! Mr. Chamberlain pretended to believe 
that a Monypenny was better acquainted with the 
people of South Africa than Dr. Andrew Murray, that 
Garrett was more worthy of credence than Dr. Kolbe, 
that a Beit was a safer guide than the majority of the 
Cape Parliament. Our voices, which, as those of 
loyal British subjects, made themselves heard in the 
interests both of the Empire and of South Africa, 
were 

TREATED WITH CONTEMPT. 

We foresaw the consequences. (Cheers.) We knew 
that the South African Boers were sleeping lions 
which it was dangerous to rouse. (Cheers.) We 
knew that the blood of the Beggars (Gueux) who 
fought the 80 years' war against Spain still streams 
in the veins of one-third of the- population, that in 
another third still flows the blood of the French 
Huguenots, and that in yet another third the Beg- 
gars' and the Huguenot blood is intermingled. 
(Cheers.) And accordingly we knew also that the 
struggle which awaited the British army here would 
be one totally different from that against Hindoos, 
Bedouins, and Negroes. Well, the advice was fol- 
lowed of the gentlemen of the Stock Exchange, of 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 437 

the capitalists, and of their newspapers. What was 
the result? What have we, loyal British subjects, 
had to witness ? We have had to see a blow admini- 
stered to British military prestige such as has been 
inflicted never before. The whole world is amazed at 
the figure cut by about 35,000 untrained farmers over 
against 250,000 soldiers from England and from all 
her Colonies, brought into the field against the Re- 
publicans. (Cheers.) I shall not stop to notice the 
way in which the nations of Europe have made them- 
selves merry about the mode in which that army has 
avenged and wiped out Majuba. But we cannot shut 
our eyes to the criticisms now indulged in by the 
most bellicose English newspapers. With one excep- 
tion, the Globe is the most ultra-Jingo of London 
dailies. Listen to the language used in that paper. 
It says that throughout all their military operations 
the British troops have behaved as amateur soldiers 
rather than as professional soldiers. It points out 
that the Boers have received little or no education, 
that they passed no examinations, that they have 
never studied the history of g^reat campaigns and 
sieges, and then followed these words: "Yet they 
have out-generalled and outwitted again and again 
Britisli officers of high reputation, who had enjoyed 
all these advantages, and they have performed this 
with small forces of undisciplined men, more farmers 
than soldiers." Another, also an Imperialistic paper, 
the Empire^ bitterly complains about the uninter- 
rupted 

SERIES OF SCANDALS 

which have characterised this war from its inception 
up to the present moment It wishes to know from 



438 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

Lord Roberts why he is returning to England while 
the country is being raided in all directions by vic- 
torious Boers. (Cheers.) It wishes to know what 
has become of the 200,000 men who are fighting the 
1 5,000 remaining Boers. And it says that " if there 
were now 200,000 Boers in the country fighting 
against 1 5,000 British, there is no doubt that the Bri- 
tish would be annihilated within a week." "And why," 
it asks, " why are the British still paralysed ?" But 
the testimony of Jingo newspapers is altogether out- 
weighed by authorities of infinitely greater signifi- 
cance. I refer to England's Prime Minister, Lord 
Salisbury, with whom on this point Lord Rosebery 
was fully agreed. Both these statesmen of the first 
rank have declared in January in the House of Lords 
that the condition of affairs at that time was such that 
the South African Boer war had become a question of 
life or death to the Empire, and they implored the 
nation to spare no exertions and to begrudge no sac- 
rifices in order to extricate the Empire from the ex- 
treme peril in which it then found itself. I shall not 
allude to the millions which this war has already cost, 
but think of the more than 60,000 British soldiers 
killed by bullets or diseases, wounded, maimed, and 
invalided, and think of their widows and orphans. It 
is now 14 months since the commencement of hostili- 
ties, but the end is not yet. (Cheers.) All this is the 
outcome of the disregard of the words of us who are 
branded as disloyal, and of the adoption of the ad- 
vice of those who are called loyal, loyal not to the one 
Sovereign on the throne, but to the many 

SOVEREIGNS IN THEIR POCKET, 

who have not scrupled to lead their country into the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 439 

Valley of Humiliation tf thereby they could promote 
their own interests. This day, and by this resolution, 
we once more warn against the continuance of the war 
and against the annexation of the Republics. (Cheers.) 
As British subjects who are anxious to save the Em- 
pire, we feel bound to speak. (Cheers.) It is pos- 
sible, it is even probable, that once more we shall fail 
to obtain a hearing ; but if the Imperial Government 
remains deaf and blind then only one result is possible, 
namely, dismemberment of the Empire and the loss of 
South Africa. We do not subscribe to the motto : "Our 
country, right or wrong." (Cheers.) If I am asked, 
What is the first duty of a statesman or of a Govern- 
ment ? my answer is — and I trust that it is yours also 
— ^their first duty is to do Right, and, I would add* 
their second duty is to do Right, and their third to 
do Right (Cheers.) If I understand the Republicans, 
this is also their principle. (Cheers.) They beg for 
no favours, they solicit no magnanimity, but they 
demand justice. (Cheers.) And for my par^ if I 
were convinced that in this instance England was in 
the right and had a just cause, I would side with her 
against my own people ; for however praiseworthy it 
is to love one's country and one's people, it is a higher 
duty to love Justice. (Cheers.) But, in the firm con- 
viction that Engand in this case is committing an in- 
justice, I decline to applaud her proceedings. (Cheers.) 
Unfortunately, however, we live in days when, with 
brutal shamelessness, conscience is ridiculed, trodden 
under foot, and is called " liver " ; in days when 
righteousness is described as "unctuous," in days 
when men who control the destinies of the Empire 
are shareholders in syndicates which are the con- 
tractors for supplying munitions of war, they, their 



440 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

wives, their sons, and their daughters, while at the 
same time in the House of Commons they solemnly 
declare that they are not ; and in days when such men, 
after such and other scandals have come to light, yet 
at Parliamentary elections obtain the support of the 
majority of the British people ! (" Shame/') We live 
so fast that the causes and creators of the war are 
now temporarily eclipsed, and at the present moment 
the manner in which the war is being conducted is a 
matter of far greater importance and urgency. The 
rules and usages of civilised warfare are being totally 
ignored. (Cheers.) When reading the war tele- 
grams we feel as if we were suddenly transported into 
the dark Middle Ages, and as if barbarities which we 
fondly imagined to have been outlived by the Chris- 
tian world, have revived on the eve of the birth of the 
twentieth century. We now hear little about fighting 
against men : war is now being made on their wives, 
their sisters, their mothers, and their children. The 
resolutions of the Hague Peace Conference, signed 
by England a few months ago, are now by her trod- 
den underfoot. Furniture, dwelling-houses, villages 
are being burnt down, farms are destroyed, food, 
necessaries of life, are consumed by the flames; 
bereft of bed and clothing, helpless women and chil- 
dren, even babes, are left in the open veld to starve 
or to succumb to disease; or, as an extraordinary 
concession, or as an act of extraordinary clemency, 
these women are by hundreds taken prisoners of war 
and treated as such ; they are exiled to this Colony, 
or to Natal, kept prisoners there, and guarded by 
British soldiers. Uncivilised Kaffirs stand astounded, 
cry shame, feel pity, where so-called civilised fellow- 
Christians feel none, and those Kaffirs have taken 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 441 

these despoiled and maltreated ones into their huts, 
and have fed them. And this unheard of treatment it 
is sought to justify by the assertion that these women 
are helping their husbands, fathers, sons, and brothers, 
who are still fighting for their independence! Did 
these people then really imagine that these women 
would be ready to betray their husbands and their 
fathers? Did they actually cherish the hope that 
these women would assist the enemies of their nation 
in the conquest of their country? Would English, 
Scotch, Australian women have acted differently? 
Would these have welcomed their country's enemies, 
and have become unfaithful to their husbands? 
Though these women are 

ONLY "DUTCH BOER WOMEN" 

their sense of duty and their human feelings are no 
less developed than those of the most aristocratic 
"English ladies." (Cheers.) It is a mistake, how- 
ever, to impute all the blame and guilt of this inhu- 
manity to Lord Roberts and his officers. These 
things could not possibly have been done without 
the instructions or without the consent of the Impe- 
rial Government; and since the Government which 
acts thus has been honoured with a vote of confidence 
by the British people, the entire British nation — ^with 
exception of the 7,000 who have not bowed the knee 
unto Mammon — ^has taken over the responsibility, the 
guilt, and the shame. The result of the recent elec- 
tions in England means : " Their blood be on us and 
on our children!" O Land of Charles Dickens! 
How are the mighty fallen ! What marvel that Olive 
Schreiner — our Olive Schreiner of whom we are proud 
and of whom England in days gone by was proud — 



443 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECR 

sorrowfully and pathetically exclaims: — ^"The Eng- 
land of my love is dead ! " Woe unto the country 
whose most accomplished and most high minded 
daughters are coerced into the admission that that 
country has lost their love, and that it is dead to 
them ! Let us hope and pray that this wave of demo- 
ralisation may soon pass away, and that the England 
which we all admired, trusted, and loved, may come 
to itself agaiiL (Cheers.) England's best friends, its 
truest sons and daughters, shed tears and mourn over 
its temporary insanity. Should it persist in this mad 
course, the issue is clear and certain. We read of 
Babylon's king who boasted of the mighty kingdom 
which he had builded, but at the riotous feast in the 
gorgeous palace a mysterious finger was seen writing 
on the wall : " Mene, Tekel " : " God hath numbered 
and finished thy kingdom, thou art weighed and art 
found wanting, thy kingdom is divided and given to 
others." And the story ends with the solemn words : 
** In that night was Belshazzar the King of the Chal- 
deans slain." The mightiest kings of to-day are 
subject to the same law, and are in the hands of the 
same Omnipotent Ruler who shaped the destinies of 
Babylon, and the nation which transgresses, violates^ 
and defies these Divine Laws of Truth and Right- 
eousness, must inevitably perish. Dark is the pre- 
sent, still darker the future. But a ray of hope 
pierces the skies. A voice from the distant past re- 
echoes through the ages : " Shall not the Judge of all 
the earth do right ? " In the year which lies behind 
us, prayers have been offered up as never before by 
men and women, by old and young, by believers and 
sceptics, and there are many who complain that these 
prayers have remained unheard, and that the heavens 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 443 

are as brass. Let us bear in mind that God's ways 
are not our ways. The ancient Greeks and Romans 
said of their goddess of avenging justice, Nemesis, 
that she comes on woollen shoes, but with iron grip 
— an idea which a Christian poet has expressed in the 
well-known words: — 

The mills of God grind slowly 
But they grind exceeding small 

John Brand was accustomed to say in bad Dutch, but 
with incontestable truth: "AUes zal recht komen," 
and one who was greater than he has taught man- 
kind that " All things work together for good" Let 
deceit and machinations, let '* streams of malignant 
lies," designed to compass the ruin of our people 
within and beyond the Colony, do their work, in the 
end they must fail and be brought to shame. (Cheers.) 
Such were the practices which the Israelitish poet had 
in view when he wrote: "He that sitteth in the 
heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in deri- 
sion." Let us retain our faith. Let us learn to labour 
and to wait 

We lift up our eyes to the mountains, 
Our help we expect from above. 

With America's prophet, Lowell, we say: — 

Truth for ever on the scaffold, Wrong for ever on 

the throne, 
Yet that scaffold sways the future; and behind the 

dim unknown 
Standeth God within the shadow, keeping watch 

above His own. 

Meanw^iile we do what our hand finds to do, and 
we protest, as we hereby do, against the annexation 



444 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

of the Republics, and against the prosecution of this 
war of extermination. (Prolonged cheering.) 

A member of the audience called for " Three cheers 
for D. P. Faure, and long life to him !" and the cheers 
were heartily given. 

The Chairman, in putting the resolution, said they 
had listened to a woman from the back veld and to 
two educated gentlemen, who had all three given ex- 
pression to the views which everyone there felt upon 
this vital subject Rev. Mr. Faure had referred to the 
dark Middle Ages, but in those times there was 
abroad a feeling of deep respect for woman-kind, and 
chivalry for the weak. (Cheers.) In the days of 
Queen Elizabeth that chivalry was still there, and 
they hoped that in the days of their great Queen it 
had not entirely departed. The sense of sympathy 
with and pity for the weak was an honourable and 
noble one, and they had given expression to it that 
day, and they trusted their prayer wotdd not be in 
vaia (Cheers.) 

The resolution, having been put to the meeting, 
was carried with acclamation. 

Dr. Kolbe— Colonists and their Rights.— 
No British Subjectship by Force. 

Rev. Dr. Kolbe moved ; — 

This Congress desires the full recognition of the 
right of the people of this Colony under its constitu- 
tion to settle and manage their own affairs, and to 
express its grave disapproval of the policy pursued, 
and the attitude adopted in these matters by the 
Governor and High Commissioner his Excellency Sir 
Alfred Milner. 

Dr. Kolbe, who was received most enthusiastically, 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 445 

said: The motion which I have put before you is 
nothing else than a national Petition of Right 
(Cheers.) And if I may begin with a personal allu- 
sion I would say that I have no claim to the cheers 
which you give to those who come from outside to 
assist us, the people of South Africa. I can trace my 
descent directly for more than 200 years in this coun- 
try. (Cheers.) So can most of you, and it is a privi- 
lege which we none of us desire to use lightly. We 
feel that our roots go back into this country for hun- 
dreds of years, and therefore we have some right to 
talk about nationality and liberty. (Cheers.) A short 
while ago somebody wrote to thank me for my sym- 
pathy with the Africander people, and I wrote back 
to say that sympathy was not the word, because it 
implies a certain separateness, and I do not admit 
that separateness. (Cheers.) Therefore, from the 
first moment that the shadow of war fell upon this 
country, though there may have been differences in 
opinion and in other things, I at once cast aside all 
such minor and extrinsic differences, and with voice 
and pen and purse and energy and prayer and heart- 
sorrow I took my stand by my country in her time of 
calamity. I say in her time of calamity and peril 
There are some people who tell us it is treason to call 
it "our" calamity; but we cannot help it that the 
stream of nationality has overflowed the bounds of 
Empire. (Cheers.) And we cannot help it if our 
hearts go with that stream. (Cheers.) Supposing 
that England had always been fair, there would have 
been no such overflowing, and even now, at this 
eleventh hour, if England would still be fair, that 
stream would return. (Cheers.) They tell us we 
must not feel it a calamity ; they say we ought to be 



446 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

glad that these people should be brought into the 
Empire, Well, we do not want them draped in as 
slaves. (Cheers.) If they were to come in, if Eng- 
land were fair and these people came in freely and 
voluntarily, no one would be more delighted than we, 
so that we might be one people, as we ought to be. 
(Cheers.) They say by our calling it " our " calamity 
we are encoturaging these people to go on with the 
fight I do not believe we have the slightest impres- 
sion upon them at all If we all hung on to De Wet's 
coat-tails we 

COULD NOT KEEP HIM FROM FIGHTING. 

(Laughter and cheers.) It is not we who encourage 
them ; it is they who encourage us. (Cheers.) If they 
were to give in now and surrender we should say: 
You have done all that honour can suggest But if 
they go on fighting we shall say, You are even greater 
heroes than we took you for. (Cheers.) And what 
we say is this, That a nation which can produce men 
like that gives us encouragement, because it is likely 
that it will go on producing them. (Cheers.) A 
nation that produces men like that and goes on pro- 
ducing them is not a nation to be snuffed out like a 
candle, nor is it likely ever to hide itself under a 
bushel of Outlanders. (Cheers.) I say, however, it 
is a calamity and a peril even to us, because we know 
very well at whom this war is aimed. It is not merely 
at the Republicans outside, it is also at the liberties 
and the national spirit that we have here, that it is 
aimed at (Cheers.) And therefore I feel proud to- 
day to join my voice with this grave and dignified 
but none the less heartfelt and determined, manifes- 
tation of the spirit of national liberty. (Cheers.) I 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 447 

say we know against whom this war is aimed, for why, 
as soon as the Africander party got a majority, did 
they begin waving the flag, and talking about danger 
to British supremacy? (Cheers.) They say to us, 
" You have the franchise,'' and as soon as we find our 
feet and use it they begin to talk about their " supre- 
macy." (Cheers.) Why did they 

INVENT THAT AFRICANDER CONSPIRACY? 

It was a blow which was directed against us. It is 
not needed any more now that the blow has fallen, 
and so they throw it away. They do not need it any 
more. (Cheers.) Then those who are opposed to us 
say, " Do not we love South Africa also ?** Well, yes, 
they do, in a dog-in-the-manger-ish sort of way. The 
dc^ in the manger loved the manger, but it was the 
cow that had a right there. (Laughter and cheers.) 
They say we should forgive and forget The pro- 
vince of forgiveness begins when repentance comes, 
and I say that as soon as the first sign of true repent- 
ance and of real amendment is given, that very 
moment the Africander nation will forgive. (Cheers.) 
And as soon as we can honourably forgive we shall 
amicably forget (Cheers.) But these very people 
who talk about forgiving and forgetting — what do 
they do? We see in their own papers that concen- 
trated malice, that deep bitterness of feeling, that 
continued taunt and jeer, that endeavour to drive us 
over the limits of our moderation — what does this all 
mean ? They want us to do or say something foolish, 
that they may clamour for martial law, and they know 
that under martial law they can attack our liberties 
in a way they cannot under the ordinary Constitution. 
(Cheers.) Therefore we say we will go on our way, 



448 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

we will protest against injustice, and we will take up 
our national stand as before, ungovemed by them or 
their martial law or their Australian Maxims — (great 
cheering) — which affect us no more than the Austra- 
lian gum trees around us. (Cheers.) When we talk 
they call it sulks or hysterics. If the Rev. Mr. Steyt- 
ler or Mr. Marchand speak they call it sulks ; if Olive 
Schreiner, it is hysterics. (Laughter.) Sulks for the 
men ; hysterics for the women. (Laughter.) Now I 
ask, Do we, the men of South Africa, look sulky ? And 
I challenge any man to look at the pleasant faces 
of the true women of South Africa I see here, and te.'. 
me if they look hysterical. (Cheers.) But we will 
tell them what the " sulks " and the " hysterics " mean. 
They mean a deep-rooted indignation against a 
national wrong, and a dogged determination to blazon 
forth that indignation to the whole world, and a per- 
sistent resolve to use every constitutional means to 
bring the consciousness of that injustice to the heart 
of the English people, and a persistent resolve within 
the limits of the Constitution to make South Africa 

THE MOST UNCOMFORTABLE CORNER IN 

THE EMPIRE 

until that injustice is recognised and rectified. 
(Cheers.) After all, what is our claim? We claim 
to have the British Constitution. They tell us now 
and then in a patronising way, they " allow " us to 
have it They can keep their " allowing " to them- 
selves. We have as much right to it as they have. 
(Cheers.) We give all credit to the English nation 
for having discovered the English Constitution, but 
that was long ago. They no longer have a monopoly 
of it : the patent has expired. And every man born 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 449 

into the Empire has a right to the Constitution. 
They talk about this Constitution so much. They 
say, " You have it here, and therefore you ought to be 
glad that the Republics are brought into it." Well, 
the Repubhcans look over the borders, and they do 
not see full signs of the perfect Constitution here. 
(Cheers.) The war-party keep on repeating that this 
Constitution is the finest in the world, and therefore 
everybody ought to be happy under it — they say the 
Republicans will fare all the better in the Empire. 
Fare better! Well, all the turkeys that are now be- 
ing fattened for Christmas are faring very much 
better than ever before in their lives. (Laughter.) 
And if coming events cast their shadows before for 
those turkeys — (laughter) — they would rather go out 
and scratch for their living on the veld, and be free. 
(Cheers.) 

A Little Story. 

This continual repetition about the British Consti- 
tution being the best in the world reminds me of a 
story which some of you may have read in " Alice in 
Wonderland." It is the story of the mad tea-party. 
There was the mad-hatter, who took his watch out 
and dipped it into the tea-pot, and shook his head and 
said his watch wouldn't go ; and he said to the March 
Hare, '*You must have spoilt it"; but the March 
Hare said no, he had oiled the works with the best 
butter. Whereupon the March Hare said he must 
have put the butter in with a bread-knife. That is 
what they do with us. We have no objection to the 
British Constitution: it is the best butter; but it is 
the crumbiness with which they rub it in that inter- 
feres with our works. (Laughter.) Then, in addition 

2 F 



450 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 






to that, they dip us into the boiling tea and then com- 
plain that our works don't go» and that we do not 
"tell the clock to any business they say befits the 
hour." We say, " Give us the British Q)nstitution as 
it really is, and you will see how energetic and loyal 
a portion of the Empire we are." (Cheers.) What 
is it ? It is the government of Englishmen for Eng- 
lishmen by Englishmea (Cheers.) When this is 
taken to another country it has to be translated right 
They once translated it into Irish, to mean govern- 
ment of Irishmen by Englishmen for the sake of the 
landlords, and it has not worked. (Laughter and 
cheers.) They keep on giving concessions to Ireland, 
and Ireland takes them, and after each one says, "And 
now we want Home Rule " — (cheers) — and they will 
go on until they get it What is it to be in South 
Africa? It looks very much like government of 
South Africans by the military for the Outlanders. 
(Cheers.) That won't work. But let us have such a 
Government as it is in England— of South Africans, 
by South Africans, for South Africans, and once they 
give us that they need not keep a single Imperial 
troop in this coimtry. What the Boers have done 
against the British army we are prepared to do 
against the whole world. (Cheers.) As a matter of 
fact the whole difficulty is that they have been ignor- 
ing our spirit of nationality, and that is what is raised 
in the resolution I am now proposing — that otir 
national, legitimate aspirations should be acknow- 
ledged as a wholesome and healthy part of the Em- 
pire. Mr. Chamberlain the other day was giving an 
historical review of the various grades of progression 
in English Colonial life, but he did not go far enough. 
He said England was beginning to look upon the 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECtt 451 

Colonies as sister-nations. The old idea was, there 
was only one nation. I remember the time when any- 
one proposing the toast, "Ireland a nation,** was 
regarded as a rebel. Now, Australia is a nation, 
Canada is a nation, and Ireland is a nation. We are 
all nations and part of the same Empire. England 
is no longer a mother, with children under her. She 
is a sister. She never was our mother. She was not 
even a good step-mother. (Cheers.) We are will- 
ing to acknowledge her as a sister. 

The Relations between England and the 

Colonies. 

We no more owe loyalty to England than England 
owes loyalty to us. We all owe loyalty to the Em- 
pire, and to our Queen, who represents the Empire, 
and to oturselves, and we do not want to be Angli- 
cised. (Cheers.) We have our own national feeling 
and character, and it is established It has its life, 
and we want it to be developed from within, with 
perfect freedom, and we want to be trusted in the 
exercise of that freedom. (Cheers.) Therefore, I 
say you must also add the second part of the resolu- 
tion, for it is an essential part of the English Con- 
stitution that in England they have a Sovereign, who 
stands in a serene atmosphere, above all political 
views. She leads the way in all high and noble and 
refined social methods, and her influence has been, 
we willingly acknowledge, most wholesome for the 
Empire and the whole world. (Loud cheers.) They 
are happy in having above them none but a Queen 
like that, and it is an essential part of the Constitu- 
tion that we govern ourselves imder one who is 
above ail politics. And, bearing in mind the Chair- 

2 F 2 



453 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

man's advice to keep dear of personalities, I merely 
say that it is an essential part of the British Constitu- 
tion that the niler should hold himself aloof from all 
parties, should work with whatever the nation does. 
He must trust the nation, and not domineer over it 
I say, merely as a matter of principle, and not per- 
sonal feeling, that our present High Commissioner 
has not kept within the constitutional limits of what 
we think a Governor ought to be. (Cheers.) In the 
words of our resolution we simply say we gravely 
disapprove of his policy and attitude. We do not 
say all we mean. (Laughter.) We say less, in order 
that what we do say may be heard the fiulher, and in 
the most grave way we do assert our disapproval, and 
say we ought to be ruled as the English people are 
ruled ; and I will repeat it, that we want true partner- 
ship, with our own power of developing our own 
national life, so that we may all have such a Govern- 
ment as the rest of the Empire has — a government of 
South Africans, for South Africans, by South Afri- 
cans. (Prolonged cheering.) 

Mr. Gideon Hamman, of Worcester, in seconding 
Dr. Kolbe's resolution, said there was little left for 
him to say, as Dr. Kolbe had expressed all their feel- 
ing to a T much better than any one of them could 
have done it. England was the only nation that 
could pride itself on the fact that it had waged war 
against women. (Hear, hear.) They as British sub- 
jects felt themselves in duty bound to protest against 
such action on her part, and they would protest as 
long as it lay in their power to do so in a manner 
compatible with their constitutional rights and privi- 
leges. Sir Alfred Milner had not had time to receive 
their deputation, but he could receive the deputation 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 453 

from Johannesburg rebels. (Hear, hear.) But let 
them not do Sir Alfred Milner an injustice. Perhaps 
he came to the country for the benefit of the Johan- 
nesburg capitalists only. (Hear, hear.) He gloried 
in the fact that his bones were intact, but was his 
conscience unblemished before God and man? He 
had never placed himself in a position where his 
bones could be broken, but had he guarded his soul 
from stain ? (Hear, hear.) As Africanders they pro- 
tested against his policy and demanded his recall, and 
hoped that they would have peace in the future. 

The resolution was put and carried with cheers, 
almost everyone rising, and the men waving their 
hats. 

Unceasing Agitation. 

A third resolution was moved by Mr. H. J. H. 
Classens, of Victoria West, being as follows: — 

This Congress solemnly pledges itself to labour in a 
constitutional way unceasingly for the attainment of 
the objects contained in the above resolutions, and 
resolves to send a deputation to his Excellency Sir 
Alfred Milner, to bring these resolutions officially 
to the notice of her Majesty's Government. 

Mr. Classens said they had previously sent peti- 
tions, which had been slighted. They could only do 
so again, no matter if their appeal fell on deaf ears. 
They could only pledge themselves to do so again and 
again, persistently and conscientiously, till they at- 
tained their ends. Trustful, and looking towards 
God, confident in His almighty power and in the fact 
that He would not allow injustice and wrong to 
triumph, they could only work, and work tmceasingly. 
(Cheers.) 



454 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH 

Mr. Dirk Viljoen, of Hanover, seconded He had 
always been proud of the British flag» and considered 
himself within his rights in protesting against what 
he thought would blemish that flag. Sir Alfred Mil- 
ner was making the country a desert, and should be 
recalled. They had been silent for 15 months, the 
longest months he had ever known (Hear, hear.) 
What a time it had been I At the time of Mr. Glad- 
stone— (loud cheering)— there was peace. He, the 
Grand Old Man, knew South Africa, as Sir George 
Grey and Sir Hercules Robinson did — (loud cheers) 
— ^but Sir Alfred did not (A voice : " It's Lanyon 
over agaia") They should appeal consistently to the 
highest authorities. Sir Alfred had axmounced his 
intention of crushing Africanderdom, but he would 
not find it an easy matter. (Cheers.) Let England 
beware that she did not drive her loyal subjects to 
despair and force them to take their harps from the 
willow and say "We will never sing again, we will 
never touch the strings agaia" ^Hear, hear.) 

Rev. A. I. Steytler asked what would be done in 
case Sir Alfred refused to see the deputation ? 

The Chairman: A permanent committee will be 
appointed, who will arrange matters in that case. 

Mr. Steytler : And if need be appeal to the House 
of Commons? (Cheers.) 

The Chairman : That, too, will be taken into oon- 
sideratioa 

The resolution was put and unanimously carried 

The following gentlemen were selected to form the 
deputation: Hoa Mr. J. Pretorius, M.L.C., Rev. A. 
Moorrees, Mr. P. Kuhn, M.L.A., Mr. P. J. Marais 
(Tulba^h), and Mr. P. W. Michau (Cradock). In the 
event of Rev. A. Moorrees being prevented &om 



THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 455 

accompanying the deputation through ill-health, Rev. 
W. P. de Villiers, of Carnarvon, will take his place 

As a standing and executive committee were 
appointed Messrs. J. J. Michau, F. S. Malan» and Rev. 
A. Moorrees. 

At this stage there were loud cries of '*Sauer, 
Sauer/' and Mr. Sauer was seen to shake his head. 
This only increased the ardour of the meeting, and 
on the clamour becoming greater Mr. Pretorius, 
M.L.C., lifted Mr. Sauer almost bodily and placed 
him on the table, where he was accorded a most en- 
thusiastic reception. 

Mr. Sauer said he had not come to speak, but solely 
to show that he was in sympathy with the object of 
the Congress. (Cheers.) They all wanted peace — 
(hear, hear) — ^and the other side, they wanted peace as 
well. Well, they could have it by leaving the Trans- 
vaal and Orange Free State their independence — 
(loud cheers) — ^by leaving them what was theirs. (Re- 
newed cheering.) That was all he would say on that 
point, but he had something to say on another matter, 
and that was to propose a hearty vote of thanks to the 
Chairmaa Mr. De Villiers deserved it, for he had 
done his duty under difficult circumstances, and they 
could pride themselves that he was their countryman 
and willing to stand by them. (Prolonged applause.) 

Rev. Mr. Maeder, of Victoria West, seconded the 
resolution, which was carried with three ringing 
cheers for the Chairman. 

In expressing his thanks, 

Mr. J. N. P. de Villiers said that he had been 
cognisant that it was a duty for him to preside. At 
first he thought it would be a difficult duty, but he 
need have bad no such f ear, for he ought to have 



456 THE LAND OF FREE SPEECH. 

known that the meeting^, being a meeting of African- 
ders, would cordially help him. (Cheers.) He had 
deemed it a pleasure to preside, although, alas! the 
subject of the meeting was not a pleasant one. He 
thanked them very heartily for the way in which they 
had supported him. (Cheers.) 

Votes of thanks were also adopted to Advocate 
Malan as Secretary, and (on the motion of Rev. A. I. 
Steytler, seconded by everyone) to the inhabitants 
of Worcester. In moving the latter vote Mr. Steytler 
said that Paarl had hitherto aspired to the honour of 
being the Mecca of South Africans, but that town 
would have to look to its laurels after what Worcester 
had done. (Cheers and laughter.) 

The closing prayer was offered by Rev. Prof. De 
Vos, after which a hymn was sung, and the Congress 
was finally closed with the singing of the Old 
Hundredth. 

THE END. 



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